By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
A lone goal from Keisha McCartney was all the Bahamas Football Association's under-17 girls national team needed to secure their berth in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Championships.
The team, coached by Daria Adderley, finished third in the four team standings in the qualifying tournament played in Kingston, Jamaica. They returned home yesterday.
In their opening match on Tuesday, the Bahamas got blanked 2-0 by host Jamaica and on Thursday, they suffered a disappointing 3-0 decision to Trinidad & Tobago.
But on Saturday with their fate in their hands, the team responded with a 1-0 decision over Guyana as McCartney came through with the lone goal from the corner in the first half in the 43rd minute of the game.
As a result of their victory, the Bahamas accumulated three points to join Trinidad & Tobago, who finished on top of the standings with nine points, followed by Jamaica in second with six.
The top three teams will now move on to Guatemala in May where they will play against teams from Mexico, Canada, the United States, Guatemala and either Costa Rica or Panama.
Paul James, the federation's technical director who travelled with the team, said this was the highest level that the Bahamas girls' team played in and it showed.
"It awakened the girls to let them understand that they have to train harder than they have been doing," James stated. "When you come out of the first round, it's good. But when you get to the second round, you have to step up. We stepped up our preparation, but it wasn't quite enough to compete against Jamaica and Trinidad."
Despite losing 2-0 to Jamaica, James said the team was in a position to win, but "we just didn't convert the goal attempts when we had too."
On the same day that the Jamaicans beat the Bahamas, Trinidad defeated Guyana 8-0. Then when the Bahamas lost to Trinidad, Jamaica knocked off Guyana 5-0.
And on the final day when the Bahamas prevailed over Guyana, Trinidad edged out Jamaica 1-0.
Looking at the team's performance, James said over the next four months, they will have to beef up their intensity at the Roscoe Davies Developmental Center when their training sessions resume.
"The problem is we don't have girls who can give these girls a challenge, so we end up playing against the boys and the boys can't push the girls the way we need them to push them to play against the girls we play against.
"We just have to improve on our fitness level because we were not up to standard against Jamaica and Trinidad.
"But in terms of techniques, we are behind in that regard too. But we did very good in terms of our tactical play. Defensively, we were also strong."