Teenage striker Dishon ‘Eto’ Howell struck a brace for Barbados as the senior men’s team came from behind to register a thrilling 3-2 victory this past weekend against hosts Bermuda.
The 16-year-old St Leonard’s schoolboy who recently had a three-week stint with Manchester City Football Club said on arrival with the team last night at the Grantley Adams International Airport, having had to sit on the bench for the majority of the game and witness a possible defeat with Bermuda leading 2-1, he believed that if anyone could turn Barbados’ fortunes around, it was him and he did not disappoint the selectors.
With this latest performance in Hamilton, Bermuda, Barbados should jump ten places from 160 up the FIFA/Coca Cola men’s world ranking to 150 said the Barbados Football Association’s technical director, Ahmed Mohammed.
Having travelled to Haiti recently for his first international outing, the boy from the Bayland merited his place when he came on as a super sub in the 80th minute and built on a goal scored in the 59th minute by Clayton’s Kola Tonic Notre Dame forward Zeco Edmee, with a fantastic shot from the edge of the 18-yard box which curled into the back of the nets to the right of Bermuda goalkeeper Quinacoe Hunt before Howell made his presence felt in the 88th minute with the equalizer [2-2].
That all important equalizer resulted from a blunder by goalkeeper Hunt who failed to control a back pass from one of his defenders on the right side and Howell running at top speed managed to press the keeper, take possession and finish the job with a clinical right-foot shot for what was his first goal representing his country.
Three minutes later the Bajan Tridents were in celebratory mode all thanks to Howell fearlessly taking on three defenders inside the box, beating the advancing goalkeeper Hunt in the process before nailing the match-winning goal in the 91st minute.
A Barbados Soccer Academy prodigy, Howell told Barbados TODAY that even before he boarded the plane, he had made up in his mind and was determined to score for the Tridents wearing their traditional yellow and blue uniform.
“I am just so happy. To be honest words cannot begin to describe how happy I am. Honestly, I felt I should have been on the field long time before, like the beginning of the second half but I was put on late, but I came on with the mindset to do my job and I did it. I am on cloud nine right now, feeling really excited and going forward I want to make the national team more often and score more goals for Barbados,” Howell said.
Technical director Mohammed commended the team for a great performance especially Howell for showing a high level of maturity playing at the senior level.
According to Mohammed, the senior team took its traditional nap but the players kept calm and the end result was in Barbados’ favour, as they managed to deny Bermuda what would have been their fifth consecutive international victory against the Bajans.
“The first fifteen minutes we are always out of concept but this time we did not panic, we followed our plan. The first-half went to Bermuda but from the second half we took control and by the time Dishon [Howell] came in the whole game changed and he was really feeling it that he will score and I always knew it but the main goal is to integrate him into the team, step by step because of his age but his performance was great and that took us to victory.
“Barbados versus Bermuda is always a great rivalry and Barbados did not win the last four consecutive games and nobody was expecting that we would win there because we had four top players and they had eight professional players but we did our job very well with the support of the Bajan community in Bermuda who were really happy with our performance,” Mohammed said.
He explained that going forward the main goal was long-term development of national youth players, mixed with experienced players, in order to perform well next year in the nation’s league.