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 concedes first game of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers to Guatemala 3-0

BVI Squad lost 3-0 to Guatemala in their first game of the CONCACAF Qualifiers World Cup Qatar 2022 played in Curacao on Saturday, March 27, 2021 Photo: BVIFA

Coming into the game against a team ranked 130 in the world by FIFA, home fans may have feared the worst, but right from the kickoff, the BVI withstood all that Los Chapinos could throw at them and even came close to scoring, when in the 13th minute, Jamie Wilson was denied by the quick reactions of Guatemala keeper, Ricardo Antonio Jerez Figuero.

Going ahead at that point would have sent shock waves through the visiting coaches, but as it was, the team under fire from their fans for under performing in recent games, calmed some nerves when they opened the scoring in the 21st minute, through their talisman Darwin Gregorio Moscosco Lom.

Phillip Graham in the BVI goal could do little to stop the effort by Lom, but from that moment on he pulled off four of five saves to keep the game alive. However, on the stroke off half time and again after chances to equalize through quick breaking football, Guatemala delivered a heart-breaking second goal through Moises Edwardo Hernandez Morales.

The second half saw gradual domination from the professional players of Guatemala, but strong, solid performances by midfield general, Carlos Septus, Jerry Wiltshire in defence, Captain Kristian Javier, Robbie Green out wide and the ever-dangerous Tyler Forbes kept Guatemala at bay until the all important third goal came in the 88th minute from Robin Bethancourth.

“It’s bittersweet to be honest,” commented coach Dan Neville. “I was delighted with the effort, enthusiasm and fearlessness of the players, but disappointed with the way we conceded and disappointed we didn’t convert any of chances at the other end. However, to be stood here and discussing the result rather than the performance against a team like Guatemala, who played really well, is a great benchmark for us.”

The team was set up to hit Guatemala on the break and to have created several chances is testament to the effectiveness of the team tactic and set up.

“We have to manage moments like those and make sure we convert those chances,” concluded Neville. “The result in truth was massive for us, the score line should have been closer and despite still being a work in progress there is so much to look forward to after performances like tonight.”

BVIFA President, Mr. Andy Bickerton made the trip to support the team and was enthused and excited by what he saw despite being disappointed in the result. “I guess if we had been asked before the game if a 3-0 defeat would have been acceptable, we might have said yes, but to play a team of Guatemala’s status high up in FIFA rankings complete with a full team of professional footballers, we played outstandingly. We had strong performances throughout the team and could have taken the lead early on before they scored. Ultimately we lost but can be immensely proud of the commitment and effort shown by the players.”

Bickerton was also incredibly pleased with the youngsters on show. “The youngsters coming on and making a contribution were great and we are definitely progressing along the player development path we set out 3 years ago.”

Once of those youngsters, Luka Chalwell, had already made a debut in England’s FA Youth Cup with his Poole Town teammates and was far from overawed by his World Cup debut. “I was so eager to come on, watching how fast and technical they looked just made me want to be out there. It was surreal though when I saw the 4th Official hold my number up to sub on and join my teammates, some of whom I had played with since a little boy and now we were all on the same field in Men’s football made me so proud. I was excited to get on and to have family watching both here in Curacao and back home was crazy! Their players like to talk a lot, but I didn’t let them get into my head, played aggressive and showed my skills.”

The BVI will remain in Curacao and play St Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday 30th March at 6pm.

BVIFA launches online coaching courses via app and in collaboration with HLSCC

The BVI Football Association has launched a series of coaches’ education courses, both via an online app and in collaboration with the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.

The strengthening partnership with HLSCC now includes provision of coaching courses that are of benefit to anyone looking to break onto a coaching pathway, understand performance and how to improve it from both the coache’s and athlete’s perspective as well as further developing coaching ability. The course is offered through the Centre for Professional Development and Community Education (CPDCE), which is part of the Workforce Training Division at the HLSCC, is a self-sustaining and income-generating unit providing leadership in addressing the professional development and community education needs of the Territory and by extension, the Caribbean Region.

“Our FA coaching courses in partnership with the college have been designed to boost the knowledge and understanding of coaching across all sports in our region and beyond and offer full accreditation to those who complete them,” explained BVIFA Technical Director, Mr. Dan Neville. “The courses are online, delivered live by expert practitioners at times that will hopefully suit coaches and reflect the BVIFA’s commitment to developing it’s coaches and in turn the level of the participants on our islands and beyond.”

CPDCE was previously known as the office of Centres & Institutes (C&I). This office has been rebranded and re-structured to better meet the needs of the business and general community.

Professional Development refers to skills and knowledge attained for both personal development and career advancement that encompasses all types of facilitated learning opportunities, ranging from College certifications to formal workshops, conferences and informal learning opportunities situated in internationally acceptable principles and practices. On the other hand, Community Education encompasses all those approaches and activities that are concerned with life-long learning that has been established through educational and enrichment programmes within the local community.

The launch of the new range of courses further develops the ties between the BVIFA and the College following on from the access to courses that are offered by the International Soccer Science and Performance Federation.

Wolues FC tops BVIFA Super 6 Tournament standings

Noel Maxwell (light blue) scored a hat trick against the Rebels FC to top the standings of the ongoing BVIFA Super 6 tournament. Photo: BVIFA

A Noel Maxwell hat trick punctuated the weekend’s action in the BVI Football Association’s Super 6 tournament as Sugar Boys FC dropped points and the Wolues FC went back to the top of the standings.

The final score line between the Wolues and Rebels FC was 3-0 but it was not until late in the game that the destination of the points was confirmed as, despite going two goals down by half time, the Rebels dominated the second half and saw a penalty saved.

A Phil Nelson through ball paved the way for Maxwell to open the scoring in the 30th minute and, just 4 minutes later, the same pair combined to double the lead after some good play by Michael Palladino.

The second half saw a more determined Rebels force the Wolues to play deep in their own half and if Curtly Peters had not been denied by Simon Cross from 12 yards, then the outcome could have been different. As it was, Maxwell broke through in the dying moments to see off the challenge from a couple of defenders and slid home to complete his hat trick.

In the other games played, the Sugar Boys FC had a 69th minute goal from Derol Redhead to thank for a share of the points in a 1-1 draw with Lion Heart FC after Sheldon Brown had put his side ahead in the 59th minute.

The Islanders FC continued their resurgence with a 4-2 victory against Old Madrid FC as Rohan Lennon hit a first half brace, an own goal just after half time made it 2-1 and then a McTair James double made sure of another win for the National League Champions.

The final game of the weekend also ended 1-1 as VG Utd’s Devante Samuel scored in the 15th minute before Abner Villanueva equalized for Lion Heart FC in the 43rd from the penalty spot.

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

Sugar Boys FC maintain 100% record of wins in BVIFA Super 6 Tournament

The Sugar Boys FC are now the only team with a 100 per cent record in the Super 6, whilst One Love FC were victorious in the Jamaican Derby against Lion Heart FC at East End / Long Look on Sunday.

Richard Morgan rose highest to seal the come from behind 2-1 win for One Love after Janel Frederick had put Lion Heart ahead in the 20th minute. Jalen Prentice saw his 30-yard free kick in the 56th minute fly into the back of the net with the keeper only able to get a glove on it diverted into the net for the leveler, before Morgan met Samuel Zeron’s cross in the 83rd minute to grab all 3 points.

“It was a physical and competitive game,” commented One Love Coach, Javon Carty, who saw his team rise to 5th in the standings with the win. “Worthy of any derby game, with lots of strong tackles, plenty of goal mouth action and it took a great move, ending in a pinpoint cross and a bullet like effort from our talisman, Morgan, to separate the teams.”

Also, at East End / Long Look, Wolues FC lost their perfect start to the tournament and slipped down to second in the standings, being pegged back by One Caribbean FC, who are in 6th, after racing into a two-goal lead.

Chester James in the 11th and Noel Maxwell in the 29th seemingly had put the Wolues well on their way to a fourth consecutive win, but first Carlos Septus in the 78th and then Gethin Jones in the 87th gave One Caribbean a share of the points in a 2-2 draw.

“It was a battle to the end,” noted One Caribbean FC Coach, Morris Mark. “The game was drifting, but Carlos created the drive for us to get back into the game and then with the full backs whipping in crosses, the momentum shifted. It’s was great to see youngster Jones popping up to slot home a deserved equalizer and definitely a moral victory for us.”

Meanwhile over on the recreation ground in Virgin Gorda, Sugar Boys FC claimed a 1-0 win against Panthers FC, courtesy of a Mohamed Kachour strike in the 78th minute to move into top spot and make it four wins from four.

The Panthers stay in 3rd place, whilst the Islanders, in 4th, closed the gap to just one point and began to look in top form as they beat Rebels FC, 3-1. The goals coming from Charles Bonnick in the 5th minute, Sheldon Harry in the 71st and Anfernee Johnson deep into added time at the end of the game.

Curtly Peters had managed to put Rebels level in the 27th minute from the penalty spot, but now that the Islanders have got themselves back into training, they are notching it up a gear and becoming a well-oiled machine again.

BVIFA Super 6 Tournament update

One Love FC and Panthers FC draw their match in the ongoing BVIFA Super 6 Tournament

As the BVI Football Association’s Super 6 tournament continued over the weekend at East End / Long Look, One Love FC and Panthers FC shared the points after a last gasp Richard Morgan winner was disallowed.

Winning a corner in the dying seconds, Richard Morgan appeared to have grabbed all three points for One Love when he latched onto the loose ball and fired home only for the referee to have already blown for full time, leaving the game tied at 2-2.

Abner Williams had put One Love ahead in the 20th minute before Nigel Sanderson equalized from the penalty spot 9 minutes later. Williams restored the lead in the 41st minute and then just after half time Sanderson leveled things up.

The Wolues FC had an impressive 0-4 victory over VG United with two goal salvos from both Timothy Parsons and Robbie Green.

Parsons opened the scoring in the 8th minute running onto a Phil Nelson through ball to finish first time past the oncoming goalkeeper. Green added a second later in the first half when he was the first to react to a saved shot and placed the ball into an empty net. The third came after Parsons skillfully lifted a pass over a defender and headed past the out rushing keeper for Green to smash the ball into the empty net and Parsons added the fourth after neatly volleying home from a brilliant Luca Reich cross.

The Sugar Boys FC took all 3 points from a tough battle against Old Madrid FC as German Gonzalez scored the only goal of the game in the 47th minute.

“The goal was spectacular,” commented McGraw Baptiste.“Both teams played well, and Old Madrid have improved physically – especially with their new signings. We missed quite a few clear chances in the second half, but overall, it was an exciting game.”

The Islanders FC also got their campaign underway with a 3-0 victory over One Caribbean FC, which came as a relief to Captain Ranalie Caines. “It was convincing in the end,” claimed Cains. “And a big relief after losing our first game (against the Wolues) and all the goals came from our brand of football, which was good to see.”

Sheldon Harry in the 9th, Kevin Fisher-Daniel in the 54th and Oswort Holder in added time at the end of the game from the penalty spot.

Standings as of 1st March

Coming up on Saturday 6th March, the Islanders take on Lion Heart FC at East End / Long Look with a 4pm kick off and on Sunday 7th March at East End, One Love FC face Wolues FC also with a 4pm kick off, whilst over on Virgin Gorda at the Recreation Ground, Sugar Boys FC are up Rebels FC at 5.45pm followed by Panthers FC playing VG Utd.

BVIFA announces CONCACAF squad

BVIFA President, Mr. Andy Bickerton and Interim Head Coach Mr. Dan Neville

Interim Head Coach of the BVI for the CONCACAF 1st Round Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022, Mr. Dan Neville has announced a squad of twenty-one players for the two games to be played in Curacao later this month.

“The upcoming World Cup qualifiers are another great learning opportunity for the squad and part of our strategic plan to create opportunities for our top performing young players,” stated Neville. “We go into both games fully committed to being as competitive as we possibly can, we cannot guarantee results, but we can guarantee we will be organized, show immense national pride, put sweat on the shirt and have “a never say die” spirit!”

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, T’Khoi Richardson and Charles Medway

Head Coach: Dan Neville

Asst Coaches: Clinton Percival and John Reilly

Fitness Coach: Javon Carty

Goalkeeping Coach: Morris Mark

Coach: Richie Morton

Manager: Wendel Nichols

Physio: Sheldon Harry

With Guatemala being 78 places ahead of the BVI in the FIFA rankings and St. Vincent 40 places ahead, the task is difficult but there is genuine belief amongst the squad that they can cause an upset.

“It is well known that we were looking forward to playing Guatemala at home,” commented Mr. Andy Bickerton. “However, the worldwide pandemic had different ideas and now we will travel to Curacao to face two tough opponents, but we have invested heavily in our youth program for the best part of a decade and although we may be one of FIFA’s smallest member associations, we are probably one of the most ambitious.”

The average age of the squad for the first two games is just 20 and making a senior squad for the first time are Richardson, Chalwell, Reich, Williams and Smith – all of whom started in the BVIFA’s School Leagues.

Both matches are scheduled to kick off at 8pm and the BVIFA will announce full details on how to watch the games, and how to support the team by purchasing a match day program and match ticket in the next few days.

Saturday 27th March v Guatemala

Tuesday 30th March v St Vincent and the Grenadines

The venue is the Stadion Emilio Hato in Willemstad, Curacao.

BVIFA to host CONCACAF International Women’s Day Football Fest

The BVI Football Association Women’s Committee led by Mrs. Mary Phillip will be holding a fiesta of fun filled football for females to mark CONCACAF and International Women’s Day on Saturday March 6th, 2021 at the East End / Long Look venue.

All 41 members of the Confederation of North American and Caribbean Football Association will be participating in the event in their respective countries. On each previous occasion, the BVIFA has put the spotlight on efforts to create more opportunity for girls and women to play the game.

The Women’s Committee promises this year’s event will be an even more fun filled festival to further enhance their ongoing development programmes and regional participation at tournaments.

“The intention of this day is to foster a relationship with all women in the territory with the BVIFA and more so the game of soccer with the involvement of young girls and women, learning the game, getting fit, staying healthy and disciplined,” said Phillip.

Phillip also hopes the Women’s Day will foster the spirit of teamwork, improve skills, build confidence and show the girls there is a benefit to being involved in football that goes well beyond the field and which can lead to educational opportunities and even careers which perhaps once were only pipe dreams stating that it’s an opportunity to see “relationships created that lead to friendships and then Championships!”

Following the success of the recently concluded Women’s Futsal League – won by the Wolues FC with a team of girls who have been together since Primary School days highlighting Phillip’s vision – the BVIFA already has wasted no time in implementing much more competitive action for the girls, including a series of Tortola v Virgin Gorda matches, with a game played on Saturday, 27th February at the VG Recreation Ground and an U13 girls’ exhibition game, which showed a vast array of talent and plans to enter regional competition.

The CONCACAF Women’s Day begins at 10.00am on the field at the BVIFA’s new stadium venue in East End/Long Look and is open to all females. The Day will include games, skills’ challenges, entertainment, refreshments, and a special guest appearance from the Honorable Mrs. Shereen Flax-Charles, a long-time advocate of empowering women in football and in life.

BVIFA Super 6 Tournament underway

The BVI Football Association’s brand new Super 6 Tournament got underway on Sunday, February 14 with Old Madrid FC using all their experience to beat Rebels FC, 3-1, at the East End Long Look stadium.

The unique format sees the member clubs vying for a top six finish whereby they will then play a round robin to see who can qualify for the best of three final in June.

Old Madrid certainly laid down an early marker showing their intent to grab one of the spots that ensures progression with what turned out to be a comfortable, but highly contested victory against a youthful Rebels team, despite going a goal down early on.

Jamal Sargeant put the Rebels ahead in the 17th minute and it was not until added time at the end of the first half that Fitzroy Daley leveled the game from the penalty spot. Giovanni Grant scored a superb solo goal in the 75th minute, to put Old Madrid 2-1 up, when after a mazy run down the left-hand side he calmly lobbed the Rebels keeper.

“It was like experience against youth out there and experience came out on top,” commented Kenrick Grant of Old Madrid. “They seemed very quick and aggressive in attack, but we capitalized on their mistakes in them keeping their shape and caught them on the counter.”

Once Old Madrid had taken the lead, they began to dominate possession and created several good chances, especially from Kenmore Simmonds who seemed to lose his footing at the last minute when scoring seemed an easy option.

Simmonds though would make amends when he wrapped up all three points for his team with a strike in the 89th minute to make it 3-1.

In the other games, played over in Virgin Gorda:
Lion Heart FC beat Virgin Gorda United 2-1 with Janel Ferdinand scoring twice in the first half before Joshua Ramprashad pulled one back for VG Utd in the 82nd minute to set up a frantic last ten minutes. However, Lion Heart remained solid at the back to ensure all three points.

And Sugar Boys FC also got off to a winning start as they saw off the challenge from One Caribbean FC to secure a 2-1 victory. McGraw Baptiste from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute put them ahead before Michael Castello doubled the advantage in the 52nd. Kelvin Glasgow scored a late consolation for One Caribbean.

Weekend schedules:
Saturday 20th February –
One Caribbean FC v One Love FC – East End / Long Look – 4.00pm

Sunday 21st February –
Wolues FC v Islanders FC – East End / Long Look – 4.00pm
Panthers FC v Old Madrid FC – Virgin Gorda Rec. – 5.45pm
Rebels FC v Virgin Gorda Utd – Virgin Gorda Rec. –8.00pm