September 26, 2020

St. Lucia U17s in sync for CONCACAF campaign

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FEAT-StLucia-101914vTrinidadU17-769x385CASTRIES, St Lucia – St. Lucia’s sights are firmly trained on the 2015 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship and it is determined not to be intimidated by bigger nations, when the tournament kicks off later this month.

Despite being drawn into a difficult Group B alongside Costa Rica (February 28), two-time defending champion Mexico (March 3), Panama (March 6), Canada (March 9) and Caribbean champion Haiti (March 12), head coach St. Croix Albert expects his squad to play positive football and give a good account of itself in Honduras.

“There are two objectives [for this tournament]: we will use it as a development step and two, I don’t think we should go into this tournament believing we’re the whipping boys,” Albert told CONCACAF.com. “I think we should go in there and fight and whoever we play against, they should have to be fighting to beat us. We should not go out there thinking these are the big names in CONCACAF and, therefore, we should just bow out. No, we will go out there and give a fight.”

In order to accomplish that objective, St Lucia has been training regularly with 25 players, but school commitments have limited sessions to once per week. As the competition looms, however, weekend camps have now been added to the program, as Albert finalizes preparations.

“We have now stepped up our preparation in that we are now having camp on weekends,” he explained. “Because of school work, we are unable to have the kids every day, so we have one day during the week and on weekends we bring them together.

“During the camp period, we try to work on the tactical and technical aspects of the game and, obviously, the psychological aspect and that has been going pretty well. We also do some schoolwork because they will be out of school for a number of weeks, so we are trying to prepare them as holistically as possible.”

Though St Lucia has not been able to scout its rivals as closely as preferred, Albert is fully cognizant of the challenge ahead, especially in the opener against the Ticos, who went 2-0-0 in Central American qualifying.

“We are at a disadvantage in that we are not privy to tapes where we can watch the opposition, but we have a fair idea of how they play,” he noted. “Central Americans, they do play just like the South Americans – they pass the ball, they are good technically, they are good runners and have good speed. So, generally, we are preparing for a team that is well fit, technically sound and good tactically.”

Albert has also been impressed with the work rate of his own players and how they have come together.

“Fortunately for us we have a team of players who have gelled well,” he finished. “While there are one or two players that stand out as you would normally find in a team setting, generally, I think the team…they push each other, so they get the most out of each other. So you really can’t single out any one player per se, but the team in general plays as a unit.”

The final 20-man squad is due to be selected on Wednesday.

IMAGE: St. Lucia (pictured) celebrates after scoring in a Caribbean Under-17 Championship game against Trinidad & Tobago on October 19, 2014, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Photo: Yonel Louis)

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