ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Technical Director of the Antigua & Barbuda senior national football team, Benna Boys, and head coach of Antigua Barracuda FC, Tom Curtis, has revealed that the professional outfit is hoping to have at least three of the country’s England-based players joint the USL squad ahead of their June 8, 2012 World Cup semi-finals opener against the USA.
This, according to Curtis, will assist to familiarise the players with the country’s brand of football while giving the coaching staff an opportunity to have a closer look at the players were selection is concerned.
“We are looking to bring possibly two of the guys into the Barracuda set-up or maybe three actually, once they have finished their football season back home which would be really beneficial for all of us, I think. We are looking at getting Anton Blackwood back, the guy that was unfortunately injured; and also Keiran Murtagh and also Justin Cochrane,” he said.
“And it’s not to say that those three players are going to represent us on June 8. But what it does mean is that we could have a close look at them. We can get them fit, get them acquainted to our system, and the players acquainted to each other.”
Curtis added it is important that players understand they have not arrived as yet and that the road to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup Finals promises to be a long and difficult one.
“It’s easy to think that once you get through to the semi-finals stage that you have arrived or that you have done what you want to do, but you have got to continually try to improve. You have got to keep moving on and where we are about to move on to is way above what these players have played at before; and I think that if anything this week, we can open our eyes and realise that we are going to have to work harder. We are going to have to be better and that’s a positive thing for us,” the director said.
Speaking on the back-to-back losses by Benna Boys within four days, Curtis said that although winning would have been welcomed, the major objective is to get a sense of where the team is and where they want to be.
“We have obviously had a few disappointing results but that is football, and like mentioned before, we had some fantastic results last season and I have been able to reach the semi-final stage of Concacaf World Cup qualifiers which is brilliant for the island; but that is football. It is up and down and we had some poor results last week, but we are here to work and move on,” he said.
“We said at the beginning of the week that the two games was an experiment. It was a new staff group. It was sort of a new group of players and we were looking at players in different positions and seeing if they could combine together,” Curtis added.
“Obviously it was a very disappointing result against Trinidad, and to be honest, the performance wasn’t up to standard either. So we have learnt one or two things and although we lost again in St Kitts, the performance of the players was a lot better. The performance was a lot more physical, faster, more determined and so I was pleased.”
Antigua & Barbuda lost a second straight friendly encounter on Saturday going down 1-0 to St Kitts & Nevis when they met at Warner Park.
Benna Boys had previously lost to Trinidad and Tobago 4-0 here at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds.