Head Coach Tom Curtis said the Benna Boys are ready for the challenge and are anticipating the challenge against the Americans.
“Everyone is very excited and very positive and we are really looking forward to playing against the biggest sporting team to come to Antigua,” Curtis said.
“It’s a fantastic occasion for everyone and everyone is desperate to be involved. Yeah, we are really excited and ready for the challenge.”
Antigua & Barbuda currently occupy the cellar position of the four-team group with one point, but the Benna Boys still have a remote chance of snatching one of the two qualifying spots to the final group of qualifiers in the CONCACAF zone.
The USA, Guatemala and Jamaica are all tied at the top of Group A on seven points from four matches.
The Americans, who prevailed 3-1 when both sides met in the first leg in Florida on June 8, will be seeking another victory over Benna Boys in this evening’s return leg to enhance their chances of qualifying.
The importance of the match against the USA is not lost on the Benna Boys.
The Americans are currently ranked 32nd in the world and second in CONCACAF, while Antigua & Barbuda are currently ranked 106th in the world and 13th in CONCACAF.
Curtis said this is the biggest match in Antigua & Barbuda’s football history, and it has presented the players with a great opportunity to showcase their talents.
“To my knowledge, it’s certainly the biggest game here. It’s a huge game to get such a big nation, to get such a world power in football down to Antigua to play against our Benna Boys,” Curtis said.
“We all should really appreciate it’s a really fantastic opportunity for all the players, and the entire island to really showcase itself so it’s a great occasion, and I hope we can do ourselves justice.”
Meantime, former national coach Veron Edwards Sr said Benna Boys must continue to give of their best in their two remaining matches in the CONCACAF Zone A semi-final round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
Although yet to record a win, the Benna Boys have been competitive in all their matches thus far.
Edwards said Antigua & Barbuda must continue to put out its strongest team and give it their best shot when the Benna Boys face the USA tonight before taking on Jamaica at the National Stadium in Kingston next Tuesday.
“I think they have to go out there and really put their best foot forward. They have to approach this game just like they approached the others,” Edwards said.
“They must play like they still have a chance because there is a slim chance still for them to qualify.
“The other part of it is that we cannot afford to include too many youngsters into this team. We cannot give the impression that we are lying down because FIFA look on these things very seriously if we put some weak teams out there.
“We have to put our strongest team on the field and work as hard.”
Edwards said the Benna Boys performance and results in the current 2014 World Cup qualifiers are indications that football in the twin-island state is on the rise.
“I think Antigua’s football has been improving or we have been thinking too much of those other teams. I think it’s the first. Our football seems to be strengthening a lot and we can, at least, compete at that level,” Edwards said.
“Years ago when we play Jamaica and Guatemala and so forth people expect we go there and lose 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0 of that sort.
“But you see now we are able to compete. The important factor is that we have to continue this journey because I think it’s a path that we had to use to go forward. We have reached this far we only have to prove that we can improve on it.”