Hallam Hope has buried the past behind him and is focused on delivering an excellent performance when Barbados host Saint Martin on Thursday night in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football [CONCACAF] Nations League.
The 25-year-old English-born winger with Barbadian roots will play for the first time in Barbados at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf, and said he was looking forward to the experience when the senior Bajan Tridents compete in Group A of League C.
Hope who plays with English League Two club Carlisle United scored a brace on his international debut for Barbados when they drew 2-2 with Guyana last year September in the CONCACAF Nations League which later ended in controversy.
The Guyana Football Federation was awarded a 3-0 forfeiture win after it was discovered that Hope had not received official authorisation from FIFA to switch from England who he represented as a junior and therefore was ineligible to play for Barbados when he did.
With the past now behind him and that permission officially granted, Hope said during training last night at Wildey that he intended on playing a big part for the senior Bajan Tridents who he explained were a talented group. “The guys are good though I remember from last time a lot of them have good potential like Thierry [Gale], he is a promising prospect for Barbados. We have good players on the team. It is all about putting it together and getting the results we want to progress,” he said.
Barbados Football Association’s technical director Ahmed Mohammed said they were focused on working hard and moving forward. He also explained that for the first time in recent times, they have been able to have the best players represent Barbados as they work towards competing in League B and ultimately the Gold Cup.
“That is part of the football [Hope’s earlier situation], that was yesterday, we are focusing on the future. So our main goal is to build the squad as strong as we can because we are always looking to see how many players we have with Bajan roots or Bajan nationality. Everybody has the right to represent Barbados as long as they are willing. So, the main goal is to qualify for the 2021 Gold Cup, and that is why we are working so hard,” Mohammed said.
Forwards Hallam Hope, Nick Blackman [arrives tomorrow] and Thierry Gale along with defenders Keason Trench and Carl Hinkson are the five overseas-based players that were invited to be part of the 20-man squad that will play two games against Saint Martin and the Cayman Islands.
Noticeably missing from the list of overseas-based invitees is Barbados’ number one goalkeeper Keasel Broome who played last year with the national team.
Barbados’ head coach Russell Latapy, in explaining the exclusion of Broome who plays professionally for National Premier Soccer League Club Pittsburgh Hotspurs, said they were still in an ongoing conversation with the goalkeeper.
“I have had a conversation with Keasel, and it’s a conversation that I need to further with him. But unfortunately for Keasel and these particular two games, is that we were a bit start and stop based on a lot of things that were happening here. We had the under-seventeen tournament; I was away with the under-fifteen team. So a lot of things were happening. What I would say is that Keasel is part of the forty to fifty pool of players that we have, but unfortunately he is not involved in these two games. But he is a player that is in my plans for the future, and I am looking forward to working with him and having him represent his nationality,” Latapy said.
With the match two days away from kick-off, the former Trinidad and Tobago midfield maestro said his job was to ensure the team play fluent football and most importantly score goals. Latapy admitted that he didn’t know much about the Saint Martin side who are already in Barbados preparing for the match. But he explained that his focus was on strengthening the Tridents unit which is being led by captain Rashad Jules.
As part of the process, Latapy revealed they intended to make life difficult for teams who visit Barbados to play but that would take time.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know too much about Saint Martin at this present time, and that is no disrespect to Saint Martin. What we are trying to do is develop a particular way that we want to play. It is a process, it does not happen overnight. So in developing the way that we want to play we are going to concentrate on strengthening the things that we are not too good at and keep working on the things we good at. So, without disrespecting Saint Martin I think at this particular time now being here and having the first home game, what I am concentrating on is the players understanding how we want to play, of them gelling together, of how I think we should win football games.
“Ideally, what we want to do is make the turf, our home, a difficult place for teams to come and play. So we will try to play at a high tempo, we will try not to give teams a lot of room to play, and when we get the ball we will try to play. That is the idea that I am trying to pass on to the players,” Latapy said.
Full team: Kishmar Primus, Liam Brathwaite, Carl Hinkson, Ricardo Morris, Shane Codrington, Keason Trench, Akeem Hill, Rashad Smith, Mario Williams, Nicoli Brathwaite, Hadan Holligan, Jomo Harris, Omani Leacock, Raheim Sargeant, Hallam Hope, Thierry Gale, Nick Blackman, T-Shane Lorde, Rashad Jules and Armando Lashley
Management team: Ahmed Mohamed technical director, Russell Latapy head coach, Fitzgerald Carter, assistant coach, Martin Newton, manager, Ryan Brewster, trainer, Richard Bynoe, goalkeeper coach, Nicola Yard medic and Patrick Mapp, equipment manager.