From L-R: BVIFA Executive Member, Avanell Morton (Clarke); Team Coach, Avondale Williams; BVIFA President, Andy Bickerton; Assistant Coach, Lenroy Henry and Team Manager, Ricky Davis.
Photo Credit: Gordon French/BVI Platinum News
BVI Football Association (BVIFA) officials are expecting a 20-member men's national team to be competitive when they take to the field for the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Caribbean Cup Qualifier in Martinique next week.
The BVI has been placed in a group with host Martinique, Suriname and Montserrat. The team departs on Monday and will play Martinique on Wednesday, before facing off against Suriname on Friday and Montserrat on Sunday.
Head Coach, Avondale Williams, who has been included to make up the 20-member squad as required by the tournament, announced the full squad during a press conference at the BVI Football Association headquarters at Botanic Station today, August 30.
The players on the team range from age 17 to 29.
Apart from Williams, the team consists of Vesquever Frett, Gregroy James, Andre Ryan, Jevone Demming, Rushedo Robinson, Javier Smith, Jamal Sargeant, Jerry Jones, Troy Ceasar, Trevor Peters, Vanquever Frett, Jhon Samuel, Joel Fahie, Carlos Septus, Christopher Telemaque, Fladimir Septus, Devon Letteen, James Shearman, Avondale Williams and Errol Wellington.
The team is managed by Ricky Davis and includes officials Lenroy Henry, Montgomery Butler, Potlee Pope, Sheldon Harry and Aubrey Liburd.
Williams said that they are entering the tournament very confident after defeating Anguilla 1-nil in a friendly match and a 4-1 victory against a visiting UK navy team. However, the team is without team captain and defender, Andy Davis, who could not travel with the team because of work-related commitments, but Williams is hopeful that the changes made will hold the fort.
"I am very pleased with the team's fitness level. There are a few injuries that we are still nurturing and hopefully they can recover by the time we get to Martinique," Williams stated.
President of the BVIFA, Andy Bickerton said the BVI has been placed in a very strong group with Martinique, Suriname and Montserrat. He said that based on the progress of the team, it is expected that the BVI will be competitive against the stronger teams of Suriname and Martinique.
"We are very excited about this. We have put a lot of time. The coaching team has put a lot of time and preparation. The public should be aware that we played a friendly game as part of our lead up to this tournament which we won 1-nil. It would appear that our preparation is on track," Bickerton stated.
He explained the importance of the tournament, pointing out that CONCACAFF, under which the BVI falls, holds a Gold Cup every two years and the winner of the Gold Cup enters the Confederation Cup with the World Cup winners and tournament winners.
"Obviously it is a learning experience for us, but we think that for the development of football here, that we play as many international games as we can both ladies and men's level," Bickerton stated.
He added that there are financial constraints, but he thinks that the more that the BVI play, the more sponsors will be attracted.
Bickerton revealed that the BVIFA is working with the CFU to try and persuade them to hold more regional competitions.
"By entering the international competitions in the region as we found out with our Under-17s. Obviously that is expensive to send a team as far as Trinidad. It makes a lot more sense for us to compete regionally in say the Leeward Islands or Windward Islands levels where we can be a lot more competitive at all levels because obviously we are a much smaller Territory; not like islands like St. Vincent and Grenada and so on," Bickerton said.