By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
TEAM Bahamas suffered a 4-0 loss at home to St Kitts and Nevis in round one, Group F of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers.
Keithroy Freeman led the scoring with his brace to lead the visitors to their second win of the current qualifying stage at the Thomas A Robinson Stadium on Saturday night.
Freeman’s first goal opened the scoring in the game’s 25th minute. Kimaree Rogers gave his team a 2-0 average at 53’ followed by Freeman’s second goal at 65’. Late substitute Omari Sterling-James scored the game’s final goal at 82’.
St Kitts and Nevis now lead Group F at 2-0 with six points.
“It was a major result because we have six points now, three points against Puerto Rico and then three points against The Bahamas. Five goals scored and no goals against. It was also two games away because it was so it was very important. Our formation was 4-4-2 without the ball, medium block. The first 50 minutes we just waited on the mistake, after 50 minutes we allowed the team to start the pressure,” said St Kitts and Nevis coach Leonardo Neiva.
“Because of the restrictions of COVID in St Kitts, we were not able to do international friendly games so our preparation process was very difficult. That is also why it was satisfying because we believe that we can go forward. After we quarantine we will refresh and continue moving forward for those two matchups against Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.”
Neiva said one of his team’s main point of coaching emphasis was to limit Bahamian striker Lesly St. Fleur, who he previously coached as a member of Montego Bay United in the Jamaican National Premeir League.
“I know the Bahamas because I studied so many videos of Bahamas before and I coached St. Fleur in Jamaica in 2015-16,” Neiva said, “I know he’s a skillful and fast player so we had to protect ourselves.”
It will be a short turnaround for team Bahamas as they travel to face Guyana tomorrow in Santo Domingo, The Dominican Republic tomorrow at 3pm at Felix Sanchez Olympic Stadium.
“It’s an adjustment we have to make, we have great players we just have to execute,” St. Fleur said, “I have faith in the team. We just have to go back to the drawing board and correct the mistakes we made. I believe in the players we just have to go out there.”
Guyana also lost their first match in Group F play, a 3-0 result against Trinidad and Tobago.
“Come Tuesday, we should be able to come out with a better result, just play hard,” St. Fleur said, “I know they are going to bring a good team down. It’s going to be a challenge but we will work. Once we step on the pitch anything can happen. We just have to be prepared.”
Despite the opening loss, players like Elijah Mitchell were able to get their first cap as a senior men’s national team player.
“It is always a pleasure to represent the national team at any level,” he said, “I got to play the last 15 minutes of the game and although it was difficult it was a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
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