The Bahamas’ senior men’s national soccer team has its full squad in town and they are ready to kick off its 2023-2024 Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Nations League campaign against Puerto Rico at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium on Saturday.
Assistant Coach for The Bahamas Kevin Davies said that the team has been preparing for months and winding down training sessions.
“We are now putting the final touches on the team, getting ready for our first match on Saturday. There is not one particular thing we need to tighten up on, offensively and defensively. We need to work on free kicks among other things,” Davies said.
The two teams faced each other back in June 2021 with Puerto Rico getting the best of The Bahamas, 7-0. The Bahamas has an opportunity to avenge that loss.
“A lot of guys who are playing Puerto Rico on Saturday did not play in that match,” Davies said. “It has been a growing process. The guys have been putting in work and I have seen the growth in everybody. I don’t see a fall-off. There is a bitter taste and when someone hit you, you do not want them to hit you again. I think that it will be a better showing this time.”
This is the first of a series of six games that The Bahamas will play in League B Group D, featuring Puerto Rico, Antigua and Barbuda and Guyana. It is a tough group, but Davies said that it helps to start with a win.
“It is always important to start off any tournament fast. A good showing this week will put us in a good position moving forward – not to say you start off good means you can relax, but if you start off good it will put you in a better position moving forward. It takes the pressure off you to have to perform at a level that may not be attainable,” Davies said.
Lesly St. Fleur has been the face of Bahamas football for quite some time and he is once again thrust into the role of the team’s veterans.
“The team has been putting in the work and getting ready for the game on Saturday,” St. Fleur said. “The mixture of the young players and some veterans becomes very easy for us as the young players will be the team in the near future. It is good playing with them and a challenge to be around them. They give you a hard time in practice and that is good.”
St. Fleur did not play against Puerto Rico in 2021. He said that it will be a different game this time around as they look to put up a fight and come out victorious.
Phieron Wilson, who has played for junior national teams, made his debut for the senior men’s national team earlier this year and he is looking forward to the match tomorrow.
“It is going to be a good experience,” Wilson said. “The team is strong, young and healthy. We are looking forward to having a fantastic time and to come away with the victory. … Being back is refreshing. It has been good getting back into soccer shape and the right mindset. It has been good building with guys who I saw grow up and playing with the men’s team. I feel good about our chances, and we will have something to show come Saturday.”
The defender is looking forward to hearing the Bahamian fans and music on Saturday. He is encouraging Bahamians and Bahamian residents to come and support them as they get their 2023-2024 Nations League action underway.
Apart from St. Fleur and Wilson, the remaining members of the team are Antonio Beckford, William Gardiner, Miguel Thompson, Cameron Pratt, Vance Wheaton, Christopher Rahming, Ricardo McPhee, William Evans, Brandon Adderley, Junior Kelly, Alexiou Cartwright, Nathan Neymour, Nathan Wells, Quinton Carey, Jaxon Bethel, Walter Sawyer, Michael Massey, William Bayles, Wood Julmis, Rashaan Bain and Nahum Johnson.
The tickets for the game are $10 for children, $20 for adults and $35 for VIP. They can be purchased online at www.bahamasfa.net or at the National Sports Authority box office at the Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium.