By RENALDO DORSETT
THE Bahamas Football Association has announced its team management for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Qualifiers as the men’s senior national team returns to international play.
The staff will be led by head coach Dion Godet who will be assisted by Harvey Mullings.
Pierre LaFleur will serve as the team manager while Mitsuo Alves serves as the trainer.
The Bahamas drew to play Bermuda in round one of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifiers. The game should take place on March 27, 2015.
The first game for the Bahamas will be at home while the second half will be played on the road in Bermuda.
If the Bahamas wins both games, they will head to Guatemala in June for the second round.
Godet called it an honour to be selected to lead such a talented staff and group of prospective players.
“It’s an honour, a privilege and certainly I wish to do my very best to live up to the confidence the BFA, its directors and players have in my ability to be a good football coach,” he said.
“We have eight weeks to put together our best team to start off these qualifiers on a positive note and that will come against a very tough opponent, one we certainly have a history against.”
The BFA released a list of over 30 prospective players, based both home and abroad, as the squad begins tryouts this week.
“It will be a diverse cross-section of individuals we expect to make up this team. Of course the call will be made for our locally-based players, those in college, and we have identified in UK academies and an MLS development team that will certainly be a benefit to the talent pool. We’re taking this seriously and we certainly want to give the Bahamas men’s squad the best opportunity to continue where we left off against Turks and Caicos.”
In 2011, the Bahamas withdrew from the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification after defeating the Turks and Caicos by an aggregate score of 10-0 in the first round.
The senior programme had been dormant for sometime until they participated in a friendly against the US Men’s U-23 Olympic team in August 2014.
“The senior programme has been off the radar but there has been quite a bit of activity from the youth,” Godet said. “We are calling up many of the younger players that have excelled at the junior level and a lot of our well known and more talented senior players, this will probably be many of their last tours so hopefully they all bring the best out in each other as training commences. We will have stalwarts in the programme and some new faces popping up on the radar, and they will have to work real hard to replace some of the squad’s members, but that is the only way to develop a thriving programme.”
The side is expected to be named in mid-March.
Godet is calling on the Bahamian public to lend their support to the team and create a true home-field advantage when the sides face-off.
“Hopefully we will have the kind of crowd we had for Bahamas-USA, we had thousands of people out there that evening and we look forward to a similar showing in March,” he said. “People like a winner so it will have a huge impact on the local development of the sport if we get out of this round. Perhaps it will lead to more funding and more opportunities for competition outside of these traditional events.”