Positive experience for BVI squad at CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers

The BVI lost 0-3 against St Vincent and the Grenadines at the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier match in Curacao on March 30, 2021. Photo: BVIFA

While neither of the two results in CONCACAF Qualifying games for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 were the outcome the BVI Football Association planned for, the federation has come away with many positives.

In the first game against the professionals of Guatemala, the youthful and inexperienced BVI put up a marvelous battle to thwart their vastly more experienced opponents and there was certainly no disgrace in the final score line loss of 0-3.

On Tuesday 30th March, after just two days’ rest, the BVI returned to the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Curacao to face St Vincent and the Grenadines, who had double the rest time and showed their strength and power in racing into a 2-goal lead inside the first 25 minutes, through Oalex Anderson and Zidane Sam, albeit with the benefit of a slow start and mistake prone effort from the BVI.

Ringing the changes and giving first Luca Reich a debut, linking up with Tyler Forbes and Luka Chalwell in a fresh and energetic striking combination, the BVI took the game to the Vincy Heat and had them on the back foot for much of the rest of the game.

Carlos Septus, Josh Bertie, Tosh Gallimore, Jamie Wilson, Miguel Marshall et al put heart and soul on the line – threatening to score a goal that would set the hearts racing, but The Vincy stayed firm and scored a decisive third late one against the run of play, through Azinho Solomon.

Senior team debuts were handed to Justin Smith and Ikyjah Williams with both settling into defensive roles with maturity, pace and determination, meaning that the future will be a lot brighter for the BVI.

For the record, the average age of the team at the final whistle was 19, with less than 100 caps between them, which if the BVIFA’s development path continues at the same pace, then the rest of the Caribbean had better watch out over the next decade.

“I was very pleased to get on,” commented Reich. “I had a couple of good touches and was happy with my performance if not the overall result. Switching it up at half time and with the youths on, we brought desire and passion, played like we really wanted to work for a result, and pushed them all the way.”

Interim Lead Coach Dan Neville was philosophical about the result but pleased with the debutants. “The first half was very disappointing and we were very lethargic, but the changes at half time, with the young players coming up, made a huge difference and gave us some fresh impetus. We used to struggle off the bench, but now we have real game changers waiting for their opportunity.”

The BVI is effectively out of the running for progression in the qualifying tournament, but still have games to play against Cuba and Curacao at the end of May and early June, both of which will provide stern tests for the team, but one that will be relished as the young team looks ahead to the CONCACAF Nations’ League in September.

BVI football squad in Curacao for CONCACAF Qualifiers for World Cup Qatar 2022

The BVI Football squad has safely arrived at its base in Curacao ahead of the first round of CONCACAF Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022 games against Guatemala and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Based at the Acoya Hotel, just across the road from their main training ground in Willemstad, the players have already begun work on acclimatization and fitness with strength and conditioning coach, Javon Carty. They also are being given comprehensive plans on strategy and expectations from the coaching staff, including Dan Neville, Clinton Percival, John Reilly and Morris Mark.

One of the debutants, Kevin Fisher-Daniel, felt the work out had been a nice introduction to the Camp and had set the tone as to the levels of hard work to be expected. “It was just a little thing, but good to have the entire squad together. The work out certainly helped to get rid of the jet lag, but I feel match fit and am ready to go!” he said.

Fisher-Daniel also said he was thrilled to be a part of the squad, ready to play to win and to give his all.

Coach Carty was also happy with the first session. “They are looking very good, the fitness level seems high, and I’m definitely pumped up to see how they perform on the field,” he said.

The squad will have another strength and conditioning session today (Friday 19th March) ahead of an afternoon of training at the Curacao National Stadium named after local goalkeeping hero, Ergilio Hato.

A full programme of training will continue over the weekend and then on Monday, a warmup game against the local Division One champions.

The BVI play Guatemala on Saturday March 27th behind closed doors, due to local COVID-19 protocols and then St Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday 30th March, also behind closed doors.

Both games kick off at 6pm and details of how to watch will be confirmed by the BVI Football Association as soon as they are available.


Full squad: Phillip Jules, Daniel Gilford, William Butler, Kristian Javier, Giovanni Grant, Miguel Marshall, Jerry Wiltshire, T’Sharne Gallimore, Jamie Wilson, Joshua Bertie, Carlos Septus, Robbie Green, Tyler Forbes, Justin Smith, Luka Chalwell, Luca Reich, Liam Blok, Kevin Fisher-Daniel, Ikyjah Williams, Jahmal Prentice and Charles Medway.

Head Coach: Dan Neville
Coaches: Clinton Percival and John Reilly
Fitness Coach: Javon Carty
Goalkeeping Coach: Morris Mark
Coach: Richie Morton
Manager: Wendel Nichols
Physio: Sheldon Harry