By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
The U.S. Virgin Islands’ Zola Kaza lodged a hat trick during Sunday night Women’s football friendly match with the BVI at the A. O. Shirley Recreation Grounds, which was played as one of the events marking the BVI Football Association’s 40th Anniversary activities.
“I was very surprised,” Kaza said. “I think I worked very hard towards it and I came out and got good results.”
Seven minutes into the game, Kaza found the nets for a 1-0 lead, which they carried into half time. Then four minutes into second half, Kaza split the BVI’s defense again to give her team a 2-0 advantage, after placing the ball past the arms of outstretched goalie Brittney Peters. In the 58th minute, Kaza completed her hat trick when she fired from 25 yards out on her right side as the ball flew past Peters for the 3-0 advantage.
The BVI couldn’t capitalize on its chances and squandered it’s last opportunity three minutes before the end of regulation when Mackiesh Taylor—the USVI’s last defender—got her foot on the ball when three of her opponents were setting up a play.
BVI coach Charlie Jackson said they played as well as they could and achieved one of their goals—holding their head high and show they can play the sport.
“There’s a lot of work to be done if we are to go anywhere with this age group and obviously, it’s the first game for many of them in a year or two,” Jackson noted. “They haven’t played together since they faced the USVI in 2012. The most important thing in the BVI is that a lot more girls have shown interest in coming out and being involved.”
USVI player-Coach Mackiesha Taylor said it was a great game and the focus was on winning.
“As soon as we started, Zola put one in the back of the net and we were excited to go but after a while, we lost our focus then regained it in the second half. This is a young team with four or five older girls so it’s really good to see them step up to the plate and help us win this game today.”
Although they haven’t played in a while Taylor said the chemistry is still there. Among other things, she said they could build on shooting because they missed a lot of goals. Connecting more, making better passes, shot composition and concentrating she said are areas to improve as some players just kicked the ball when under pressure.
“From this we have to just keep the Soccer going and I know some girls do other sports but it’s to have them training still,” she noted. “Hopefully, BVI can invite us back or we invite them over so all the girls can keep playing. That’s the only way we’ll get better around each other—by playing.”
Jackson said they approached the game with a 4-3-2-1 tactical formation, which was designed primarily to get them to a different level as they have been playing a 4-4-2, which is a basic version of Football. The plan he said was to get them passing, moving and understanding how to move forward in a quick transition.
“Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t and it depended on how the opposition play,” he noted. “The USVI was probably faster than we thought they were going to be so our own game suffered a bit for that.”
On Sunday, the BVI hosts St. Vincent and the Grenadines at 5 p.m. in a Men’s friendly.