The Barbados senior national men’s team has been selected to contest the upcoming Concacaf Nations League (CNL) with their two opening matches commencing early June against Antigua and Barbuda followed by Cuba a few days later.
In both away matches, Barbados will feature in Group A on Thursday, June 2nd against the 127th world-ranked Antigua and Barbuda at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground in Gros Islet, St. Lucia.
Three days later on Sunday, June 5th the Tridents are expected to play host team Cuba at the Estadio Antonio Maceo Stadium in Santiago.
No doubt national head coach Russell ‘Little Magician’ Latapy will be aiming to field his strongest possible team to compete in the qualifiers.
It is a team of mostly homegrown players that will be led by prolific midfielder and captain Hadan Holligan. The only familiar overseas-based player is defender Krystian Pearce who is no stranger to the national setup.
Pearce along with the capable Ricardo Morris should have the defensive third covered with support from Ramon Manning and possibly Mario Williams. The attack is seemingly strong as well and poses several midfielders with young Barbadian overseas-based players such as Niall Reid Stephens, Devonte Richards and Tajio James returning home to represent the senior men’s team.
Both Richards and debutant James are students at Feather River College in Quincy, California while Reid-Stephens is a member of the Chicago State University.
There continues to be no room for Barbados’ top striker Thierry Gale on the Barbados senior men’s team. There continues to be a noticeable silence from the senior management setup about why the Hungarian-based Gale remains absent from the squad.
One would have expected that given the Tridents’ recent 9-0 flogging against Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors and a 5-0 mauling by the Guyana Jaguars during a recent tri-nation international friendly series at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, that coach Latapy would want to ensure he travels with all the attacking options possible.
For the first time in CNL history, Barbados will play in League B after being promoted from League C two years ago during the inaugural competition.
In addition to Antigua and Barbuda, the highest-ranked team in Group A of League B, followed by Barbados at 163rd and Cuba placed 177th, Guadalupe are the only unranked team.
Once successful, Barbados will be promoted to League A for a chance to qualify and compete in the 17th staging of the Concacaf Gold Cup scheduled for 2023.
Cuba has had the distinction of playing in the Gold Cup 11 times and Guadalupe three. Only Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda have yet to experience that honour.
Full squad: Kishmar Primus; Liam Brathwaite; Nashton Browne; Roshon Gittens; Akeem Hill; Nicoli Brathwaite; Mario Williams; Hadan Holligan; Ackeel Applewaite; Niall Reid Stephens; Andre Applewaite; Ricardio Morris; Keon Atkins; Jomo Harris; Nadre Butcher; Sharan Hoyte; Azarel Croney; Jamol Williams; Omani Leacock; Darico King; Armando Lashley; Devonte Richards; Tajio James; Krystian Pearce; Ramon Manning.