It is not expected to be an easy ride in the park however, as St. Kitts & Nevis would have a tough fight on their hands against Trinidad & Tobago, French Guiana, and former sister island Anguilla. The team’s management has already made it clear that every team will be taken seriously and they intend to prepare accordingly, but this is not dousing the high level of expectation.
No one understands the challenge better than the team’s Head Coach, Jeffrey “Pedro” Hazel, who is on his first assignment with the senior national team, but has had experience with other national teams, including the U23 squad.
Perhaps this is why team St. Kitts & Nevis has recruited nine overseas based players who have logged quite some experience playing for international clubs in Europe and North America. Hazel has indicated that the first objective is to move on from this group, win the CFU Caribbean Cup and then take the ultimate prize of making it to the Gold Cup.
From an administration’s standpoint, General Secretary of the St. Kitts & Nevis Football Association, SKNFA, Mr. Stanley Jacobs, has promised three nights of exciting football, starting on Wednesday, 10th and continuing on Friday 12th and Sunday 14th October at the Warner Park Stadium.
In an exclusive interview with Miyve.com Jacobs confirmed that preparations for the St. Kitts and Nevis team have been going well and he said the addition of the overseas players has boosted the morale of the squad of twenty. For Jacobs, this could very well be one of the best teams ever assembled for the country.
Behind the scenes however, the off the field preparations have proven difficult and it has only been through the firm support of certain corporate entities that some of the huge costs have been managed. He therefore had good words for the St. Kitts Tourism Authority and British Airways for their financial assistance, to help offset some of the travel costs for the overseas players.
The projected cost to run the tournament said the General Secretary is approximately EC$250,000. He however indicated that the Association has lobbied and received financial aid from the organizers of the tournament the Caribbean Football Union to assist with the hosting of the group.
This tournament is extremely important to St. Kitts and Nevis Football, explained Mr. Jacobs, because if the team succeeds in progressing out of this group, they will then play in the final stages of the competition, and will have a chance of finishing in the top four of the competition, which will then lead to qualification for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will create a high level of exposure for young Kittitian and Nevisian footballers.
He also stated that the football loving public will witness tough competitive football, acknowledging that three of the four teams have a very strong chance of winning the group and gaining automatic qualification to the next round.
Double headers will be hosted each night and will be played at Warner Park at 6:00pm and 8:00pm. Admission for the games will be $20 for the grounds and $25 for the stands
All visiting teams were scheduled to arrive in St. Kitts by Monday evening.