BVI stumbles out the gate in Concacaf U20 Championships

The BVI U20 starting squad that faced Grenada on Tuesday night. PHOTO: Jazelle Sylvester, Grenada Football Association 

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

An improvement on their 7-0 opening loss to Curacao in the 2022 Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championship Qualifying in the Dominican Republic on Friday, saw the BVI Football squad falling to Grenada, 4-0 on Tuesday night.

The Spice Boys found their scoring stride with four different players finding the back of the net in the victory which lifted them to first place in the group. Keishon Clarke (27’), Aquil Lawlite (33’), Ogiste Lemoud (45+2’) and Benjamin Ettienne (67’) netted the goals.

“It’s not really the result we were looking for, but based on the last game we played, I really see a lot of improvement today, so I’m really proud of the effort that they gave us,” Coach Clinton “Tinnie” Percival said. “I think personally, it’s a learning process and I’m seeing improvements day by day. One of the setbacks is that we didn’t have the team together for a really long time —some players came from overseas—so we’re still getting there as a unit, but every day that goes by, we’re getting stronger and stronger. They’re now understanding what we want from them. Everyday we’re seeing more and more improvements so we can only get better as the days go by.”

Percival said while winning is important in any game, they are in a development process and they’re hoping the players learn as much as possible to play as a unit and carry out the instructions given.

“We played a very tough team in the first game,” he said of the 7-0 loss to Curacao. “They gave us a lot to think about and this time, we have improved a lot of things that we did not do in the first game. I can see day to day we’re going from strength to strength so the objective is keeping this team together—it’s like a 16 year old team—so it’s a future team. So yes, we’re expecting to play well. We’re expecting positive results, but if we don’t win right now, it’s not the end of the world for us, because this is a development process. We keep going forward with it.”

Percival, originally from St. Kitts-Nevis, has been working with the team for the last 18 months and came from a background with a higher level of development in the sport, while the BVI’s program is growing. He said it’s a transition over the last 18 months. “I’m happy with what I’m seeing, but because you don’t win, doesn’t mean you don’t succeed in what you’re looking for,” he pointed out. “We did not win the game in terms of the result, but from what we’re seeing from the progress we’re getting from the players, I’m pretty happy with it.”

The BVI faced Sint Maarten last night, a team that collected their first win of the tournament in a 2-0 final over Dominica. The BVI face Dominica in their last game of the tournament on Saturday.