By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THEY have not yet released the names of Team Bahamas, but members of the men’s national training squad have been working extremely hard in preparation for their match-up against Switzerland in the Kalik Light Cup International Friendly.
The team is getting ready to face the number sixth-ranked Switzerland in a two-game match this weekend at the Bahamas Football Association’s Beach Soccer Facilities near the foot of the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge.
Gavin Christie, who has served as the team captain of the previous men’s national team, noted that they have had the fortune of working with Heimanu Tararui, who has changed the landscape of their practice sessions.
“We’ve been lucky enough to have the number one player in the world in beach soccer training and coaching us over the past few months,” Christie said. “So he has really demanded a lot more than the players are used to, so it’s only benefiting the players at the end of the day.”
Tararui, regarded as the number one ranked beach soccer player in the world, has been working vigorously with the team that will have Angelo Schirinzi as the head coach.
Among the players trying out for the final selection to the team are Torin Ferguson, Alex Thompson, Keith Miller, Renardo McCallum, Dwayne Forbes, lashane Dean, Gavin Christie, Justin Hoffer, Daron Beneby, Julian Smith, Christopher Davis, Ehren Hanna, Ivan Rolle, Kyle Williams, Lesley St. Fleur, Timmy Munnings, Jean Francios, Valin Bodie, Dominic Bannister, Amo Cartwright, Dolcin Absolu, Gregory Simms, Jarad Higgs, Riche Bolivar, Jamar Townsend and Cameron Hepple.
The two-game series is the first step in the BBF’s preparation for the hosting of the 2017 Beach Soccer World Cup.
Christie said over the past few months, Tararui has put them through a training drill that they have never experienced before and so far everything is coming into place and the fans should see the results when they watch the team perform.
“His demands are those that you can expect from any professional player,” Christie said. “We’re just so fortunate to have him here in the Bahamas helping to prepare our team.”
Although the BBF has not yet released the final team selection, Christie said he’s confident that when the time comes, the Bahamas will be represented by an excellent squad.
“This team is a bit different because it’s the first time that we have a lot of new guys coming into the sport,” he said. “We have a lot of players who have been training, but they have never played a competitive beach football match.
“So it’s going to be good because it’s going to finally give the guys a taste of international competition, but not just any international competition, but a top level competition against one of the best teams in the world.”
The Swiss team is due to arrive in town on Wednesday. They will hold a practice on Thursday and will play their first game Friday at 5:30pm. The second game is scheduled for Saturday at the same time.
“It’s always good to play at home and to have the crowd support behind you,” Christie said. “We want as much people as possible to come out and wear their colours and bring their flags to support their team.”