BVI debuting against Cuba in FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier

The BVI’s Women’s Football team will make their FIFA World Cup qualifying debut vs Cuba on Saturday

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

A Women’s Football team will face Cuba at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Honduras on Tuesday in Group E play, as the territory debuts in the FIFA World Cup qualifying competition. Both matches will be played in Honduras.  The Women’s debut comes 20 years after the Men  began FIFA World Cup qualifying competition in 2002 against Bermuda.  The team had its final practice match against the U20 Boys on Tuesday.

Head Coach Wayne Phillip noted that while it’s a young team, most of the players emerged from the BVIFA program and have been consistent in their development.

“They play well and are now moving forward to this level and we expect them to go out there and give a good account of themselves,” Phillip, a guest on last Thursday’s Sports Beat Magazine on CBN 90.9 FM said. “It means a lot to BVI Football, at least the youngsters in the grassroots program can see there’s something to look up to, because you need the grassroots program to feed up to the senior program. Right now doing this and knowing that the girls are going out there to represent the country, I think that could be the best thing.”

Being selected on the team, Captain Ariel Mohamed said, is a “really good feeling” as she has been practicing with the girls for a while. “I know we’re able to come together as a team and give it all our effort and just put 100% in,” said Mohamed who attends St. Andrews in Orlando. “We’ll enjoy this experience as a team, grow as a team and it will help our development.”

Vice-Captain Zariya Smith said it’s a pleasure especially giving the chance to represent the country. “We’re able to go and give younger people more of an opportunity and live up to our younger siblings and be their motivation,” she said.

Asked about the things he’d like to see the team executing, Phillip said when they’re on defense, he wants the team to defend together and when they attack, they attack together.

“It’s one team and whatever happens on that field, we feel proud about it. We want to go hard against Cuba, make sure we study the plays, focus and concentrate because I know that the girls are capable of doing well and I honestly do believe in them a lot, ever since I started this program,” Phillip said. “They’re young—half of the team is U16—but I know what they’re capable of and that is great for building football. It will be a good thing for them. I hope they learn from it and when we go to the next round against Haiti and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we can do much better. But we’re going out there with a positive mindset to do well.”

Comprising the team are: Ariel Mohamed (Wolues) Captain, Kimberly Smith (Wolues), Britney Peters (Avengers, Darci Reich (Wolues, Zolita Bamford (Wolues), Sheniece St Jean (University of Maine), Keeley Brickhouse (Holland FC), Chandni Wattley (Panthers), Kezia Gumbs (Virgin Gorda United), Shevonne Vanterpool (Avengers), Kara Lewis (Panthers, Jmya Mark (Avengers), Gabrielle Jermyn (Wolues), Lil-Makeda Fahie (Avengers), Zariya Smith, Vice Captain, (Panthers), Olivia Messum (De Montfort University), Morgan Creque (Panthers, Jasmine Cox (Holland FC) , Zina Cheikh (Oakham FC), Alicia King (De Montfort University), Jackisha Rigobert (Virgin Gorda United) and Kiara Woodley (Wolues).

Officials. Head Coach: Wayne Phillip. Asst Coach, Jeffrey Demming, Team Physio, Sheldon Harry, Manager, Bernice Magloire. Logistics and Equipment Manager, Priya Mohamed.