By RENALDO DORSETT
MARKED as another milestone for the development of beach soccer in the Bahamas, two of the country’s national team players completed their season with a top side out of Switzerland.
Ehren Hanna and Christopher Davis spent the last two months as members of BSC SableDancers of Switzerland’s Suzuki Swiss Beach Soccer League.
The club also comprised of five Swiss national team players and five Tahitian national team players.
The Suzuki Swiss Beach Soccer League featured players from Morocco, France, Italy, Romania, Bahamas, Hungary, Jamaica and Trinidad.
“Our season here was great. Our training and playing experience has been the best being amongst some of the world’s best players. We have developed immensely as players and administrators/facilitators and we are excited to be back home so we can continue to develop Bahamas Beach Soccer.
“There is so much potential for the sport in our country not only for Bahamians to play on a world-class level but also for the Bahamas to facilitate world class events. We look forward to working with the national team and Quality Beach Soccer Club and camps so that in 2015 maybe the Bahamas could introduce its own beach soccer league.” Hanna said.
“We would like to thank God firstly for putting us in position, The Bahamas Football Association, Angelo Schrinzi, Swiss Beach Soccer and Sable Dancers, the members and fans of Quality Beach Soccer Club, The Ministry of Sports, Coach Roberto Cecilianos, our family and friends who have supported us.”
The SableDancers, founded in 2002, are the oldest team in the Swiss Premier-League, which they officially joined in 2006.
The relationship between the Swiss beach soccer programme and the Bahamas began in earnest in April when the Bahamas Football Association hosted a beach soccer clinic conducted by the Swiss national team.
Swiss national coach and FIFA instructor Angelo Schirinzi, and Swiss International beach soccer player and FIFA player of the year 2009 Dejan Stankovic presented the course material.
It marked the third time that the BFA has conducted a beach soccer development programme.
Schirinzi has managed the SableDancers since 2012 and familiarised himself with Hanna and Davis during the clinic. He is also the founder of Swiss Beach Soccer and the Tahiti national team.
Switzerland is ranked no.8 and Tahiti is ranked no.4 in the world.
“Ehren and Chris have improved tremendously this summer. They have learned new techniques and developed their overall technical ability and have maintained satisfactory role performances on the team. They have learned a lot about and from the league,” Schirinzi said.
“We look forward to seeing them again soon and working with Bahamas Beach Soccer.”
In May, the Bahamas finished sixth overall in the 2013 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship. A single goal was the difference between the Bahamas reaching the semifinal round and playing a match with a berth to the World Cup on the line.
Christopher Davis is the national team goalie but was injured for the World Cup qualifier.
“As soon as we arrived we had to immediately adjust to world-class level of play with teammates and no-nonsense coaching of Angelo Schirinzi.
“It was an honour to train with Swiss national team, training and playing against the likes of players like Noel Ott (2014 MVP European Beach Soccer League) and Dejan Stankovic (2009 World Cup MVP & Golden Boot Winner,” he said.
“Every training session and game was a significant learning experience. I felt privileged to play with and against some of the elite beach soccer players in the world on a daily basis. We have learnt a ton our nine weeks here and are extremely excited to return home and hit the ground running. We can see and feel the improvement in each other’s game.”
In a relatively short time span, the Bahamas has become a major regional player in beach soccer and now the Bahamas Football Association seeks to join the rest of the Caribbean in making the development of the budding sport a major initiative.