SAINT LUCIA’S National Under-15 football team is expected to return to the Island today from Barbados. The twenty-man team and three officials left the island via the George F.L. Charles Airport on Thursday afternoon to obtain their visas and were also scheduled to play Barbados’ National Under-15 team in two friendly matches on Thursday and Friday evenings.
The team is currently preparing for the Under-17 World Cup scheduled for 2019. Next year, Saint Lucia will be playing a number of qualifiers and the friendlies against Barbados are all part of the team’s preparation for the CONCACAF Tournament as well.
The VOICE spoke to Team Manager Vincent Bologne just before departure about the overall preparation and Saint Lucia’s participation in the CONCACAF Under-15 tournament in Florida next month.
He said, “We are invited to play in the CONCACAF Tournament in August. We have been training for the past three months. But before that, the boys have been engaged in national football for the past nine months.”
In terms of Saint Lucia’s chances against Barbados, Bologne said, “Our standard right now risen raised tremendously. The coaches are very impressed with the boys in terms of their physicality; we have bigger and stronger boys. We also have an enhanced level of skill.”
For the CONCACAF Tournament, Saint Lucia are grouped with Suriname, Saint Kitts and Guyana. The Guyanese just won an invitational friendly in Saint Martin and Bologne believes they will be a strong opponent for Saint Lucia.
He said, “Our expectation is to do very well. The team is well prepared as we continue to work with them both physically and mentally as our eyes are set on qualifying for the World Cup and to bring Saint Lucia glory at that level.”
The team is coached by Cassim Louis, who is full of experience and has knowledge about the game. He is assisted by Jamil Joseph, a former national player, who is currently taking the boys through some intensive physical training and technical ball control.