The reigning champions of Cayman Islands club football, Bodden Town FC, are playing in New Zealand.
Bodden Town competes in the inaugural Oceania Football Confederation President’s Cup this week. The squad faces two clubs from Oceania, two from Asia and Fiji’s National Under-20 team in Auckland, with the matches serving as a tune-up for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association U-21 World Cup.
For club members, like Bodden Town president Mark Scotland, participating in the competition is a major achievement.
“Just being invited to this tournament is a huge achievement for Cayman football,” Scotland said. “Bodden Town has been trying its best to put forward its best for Cayman football in the past few years. We have measured our success not so much on the local scene, but how we can compete internationally.”
Bodden Town was one of a handful of English-speaking Caribbean clubs to compete in the Caribbean Football Union Club Championships this year but missed a spot in the prestigious Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Champions League, the region’s premier club competition.
However, Scotland believes the international exposure will assist the team lift its standard of play and achieve personal milestones.
“Many of our players aspire to play professionally. When we played in Puerto Rico back in March, we had a couple of calls for players there as teams expressed interest in our players. That, again, incentivizes them, to look at this and say if we get looked at by a couple of teams over there and get a couple calls the players would look at this as a successful trip in addition to playing well on the field.”
Bodden Town will face strong opposition in Group A, against reigning Oceania Champions League winners Auckland City FC (New Zealand) and the Singapore U-23 team. Group B features Amicale FC (Vanuatu), the Fiji U-20s and Busaiteen FC (Bahrain).
With Cayman’s leading goal scorer Theron Wood and emerging striker Ricoh Brown in attack, Bodden Town opens the tournament against Singapore U-23 on Nov. 19. Bodden Town is the current Premier League winner and holder of the Charity Shield and is the only CFU and CONCACAF team taking part in the six-team tournament. Matches run Nov. 17-23 at the Trusts Arena in Auckland. Overseeing the games is the Oceania Football Confederation – which governs the sport played in the national federations of American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Tonga. Scotland says Bodden Town is ready for its opposition.
“We have prepared for this since August and we’re looking forward to making Cayman proud, Bodden Town and in this instance, CONCACAF as well.”