Mario Harte is back.
The prolific center forward who has been out of the Barbados senior men’s football team will resume his rightful place as captain when they play French Guiana this coming Saturday June 17th in an international friendly at the Stade De Baduel Stadium.
This is in preparation for the upcoming Windward Islands Cup scheduled for June 27.
Having been plagued by an ankle injury, Harte told Barbados TODAY during a telephone interview he was once again ready to lead from the front and hopefully score more goals.
“I just want to find back my rhythm and hopefully score some goals in order to help the team move forward. My fitness is coming back, so I am feeling good. The injury is now behind me and I am looking to go again and regain my form,” he said.
Harte who captained University of the West Indies Blackbirds to their first Barbados Football Association’s Digicel Premier League trophy in 2016, the same year in which he took home the golden boot for most goals, scoring 29, said he has never had the opportunity to play French Guiana before but having done their homework, the team was ready for what he deemed would be a tough encounter against a team well known for their attacking style of play.
In fact French Guiana coached by Jair Karam is now on a high having gained a berth into the CONCACAF Gold Cup which kicks off July 7. Unlike Barbados, French Guiana is not a member of FIFA and therefore the Gold Cup represents the biggest competition in which they are eligible to participate.
The last time these two teams met each other in 2014, Barbados came out on the losing end 2-0 and will therefore seek to up the ante this time around when they take on the hosts.
BFA technical director, Ahmed Mohamed, said Barbados were up for the challenge. “French Guiana players are all professionals playing in England and France and that would be a good test for us. We always go to win, a game goes for ninety minutes and you can never really tell the end result. But one thing for sure we will give of our best.
“The players are very motivated and this team will be more or less the team that will travel to Grenada at the end of this month [for the Windward Island Tournament]. They [Barbados] know the French players, sometimes that is a big advantage knowing the opposition and unfortunately for French Guiana they do not have that much information about us. But we know they are good in defence, midfield and upfront and we are ready for that,” he said.
Having lost their last two friendlies last month to Trinidad and Tobago (2-0) and St Kitts and Nevis (2-1), the men representing the ultramarine, gold and black will at least want to lift their spirits and come out on top this time around.
They will however have to do so without the services of Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme attacking midfielder Rashad Jules currently on contract with Tulsa Football Club based in the United States. The other unavailable player is Ellerton top forward Shaquille Belle who was recently contracted to play in the Trinidad Pro League for Morvant Caledonia.
Those two will be missed especially Jules who has been very efficient with his abilities and speed this year. Mohamed is confident that the team with a mixture of youthful and experienced players would be able to hold their own. He said Barbados’ defence led by Ranaldo Bailey and Shane Codrington had the ability to thwart French Guiana leading forwards Arnold Abelinti, Roy Contout and Mickael Solvi.
The full squad reads: Mario Harte (captain), Dario Weir, Arantees Lawrence, Shane Codrington, Torian Went, Jason Boxhill, Ackeel Applewhaite, Mario Williams, Jomo Harris, Hadan Holligan, Mario Harte, Zeco Edmee, Sheran Hoyte, Jamal Chandler, Ranaldo Bailey, Akeem Hill and Raheim Sargeant.
Management team: Technical director Ahmed Mohamed, physiotherapist Nicola Yard, manager Richard Bynoe and coach Colin Harewood.