By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
IN their tune-up for the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association (CONCACAF) qualifier for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2013, the Bahamas Football Association’s 10-member team suffered three losses at the BSWW Riviera Maya Cup in Cancun, Mexico, this weekend.
The team, made up of some of the players expected to play May 8-12 in the CONCACAF qualifier at the beach soccer facility on Malcolm Park at the foot of the Sir Syndey Poitier Bridge, got blanked 5-0 by Spain in their third and final game Sunday at the Playa del Carmen Stadium in Mexico.
Prior to that, the Bahamas lost 9-2 to Brazil on Saturday. They opened the tournament on Friday, losing a 6-5 decision to Mexico.
Efforts to contact the team, headed by Dominique Bannister and coached by Roberto Ceciliano, in Mexico were unsuccessful. But BFA secretary general Fred Lunn said the Bahamas should be proud of the efforts of the team, despite not winning any of the games they played.
“We had about three injured players (in the last game) so we really only played with seven players,” Lunn said. “So they did a hell of a job. The goalkeeper Chris Davis was injured and the backup goalkeeper 17-year-old Valin (Bodie) was ready for the task. He only gave up five goals to Spain, one of the top teams in the world,” Lunn said.
“When you look at the big international picture, when Spain plays the other countries, they sometimes score that many goals. So for little Bahamas to come away with that, it’s fantastic. I think the team should be encouraged coming back here after performing against three of the top teams in the world. It was tough. They played those three games back-to-back, which was tough.”
Highlights of the game against Spain were not available.
But against Brazil, Lesley St Fleur booted in a goal to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Bahamas didn’t score again until Davis got the final one for a 9-2 deficit at the end of the game.
In their opener against Mexico, the Bahamas got three quick goals from Ehren Hanna, Mark Daniels and St Fleur. Kyle Williams got another for a 4-1 lead. After giving up a 5-4 lead going into the final period, Hanna scored the equaliser at 5-5. Mexico then sealed the deal, much to the delight of the home crowd, just before the game came to a close.
Lunn said despite the losses, the BFA is still upbeat going into the CONCACAF qualifier.
“Four of our players on the team (this week) didn’t travel,” he said. “We had two new players who went down with that team, but our top scorer Gary Joseph is here. Our goalkeeper Torin Ferguson is still healthy and so is ‘Smokey’ Dwayne Forbes, one of the best defenders we have. These guys are healthy and have been training.
“So the team that went to Mexico is not the same team that will play in the World Cup qualifier. That will change a little bit. We’re adding the players to the squad when they play here. Jason Edwards is one of the new players. He has great speed and very good skills. He’s also healthy and ready.”
As far as the team that went to Mexico is concerned, Lunn said they’re still waiting on the report from Bannister as to the status of the injured players.
Davis reportedly got injured defending a shot, Kamal De Gregory also got hurt and captain Garvin Christie has a slight strain. The good thing is St Fleur and Mark Daniels are both healthy and the BFA now has the luxury of adding Valin Bodie to the team if Chris Davis is not available as a back up to Torin Ferguson.