By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
BVI Football Association officials on Tuesday announced the March 27 FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 home qualifying match scheduled for the A. O. Shirley Grounds vs Guatemala, has been moved to Curacao on that same date, because of the COVID-19 protocols and the 14-days quarantine. Subsequently, the March 30 group match against St. Vincent and the Grenadines, will also be played in Curacao.
In a tune up match on Sunday, goals from T’Khoi Richardson in the 12th, Luca Reich in the 18th and Sheldon Harry in the 79th gave the National Team a 3-2 victory over the Virgin Gorda Sugar Boys. A Roland Roberts score and McGraw Baptiste penalty kick, accounted for the Sugar Boys’ goals.
“Basically there were two things we were working on—in possession and out of possession—so we asked the players when we have the ball to make the field as wide as possible to possess the ball for as long as possible and look for some forward passing,” Coach Clinton Percival told Island Sun Sports. “Those were the basics we expected them to do—just play wide, keep the ball, look for the penetrating passes. When we don’t have the ball, we asked them to play as compact as possible, get behind the ball and make sure you make it as hard as possible for the team to get behind their back. That was the basic synthesis.”
Regarding the execution of instructions, Percival said they basically did okay for the first time playing as a team, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. He said they can now learn to play as a unit, communicate more as they were too silent on the pitch, not communicating and helping each other. This he added, can help them work as a unit. Working as a unit—on offense or defense—they’ll do a lot better and that’s something they’ll work on.
Percival said while he saw some excellent goals, he told the players that the result wasn’t the important thing, but getting a match under their belts and working on how they want to play, giving players a chance to play as some didn’t play in their original positions.
“We will be feeling out players in different positions as we go,” Percival stated.
With COVID-19 restrictions affecting overseas players joining the squad and he’s not sure they’ll have them. “Right now, the main goal is to prepare those here as best as we can to make sure if we cannot get those overseas players, those who we have will be ready,” Percival said. “It’s a ticklish thing and a lot of things are still up in the air.”
With various COVID restrictions and associated travel challenges, the team will engage in matches against other local teams including an All Stars squad in their next encounter. Percival said match practice is very important because after 50, 60 minutes in a game, you start getting tired. It’s also important and getting the team to mesh.