St. John’s Antigua- Antigua & Barbuda Benna Boys Head coach Tom Curtis, although somewhat disappointed not to have walked away with three points from their semi-final round 2014 World Cup Qualifier against Jamaica on Tuesday night, is happy that his team managed to do the next best thing, which is come away with a single point.
Antigua & Barbuda played to a goalless draw against Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz before a packed Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds to earn their first point in Group A of the CONCACAF competition and keep themselves in contention for one of two automatic qualifying spots.
“If we had lost the game last night it would have been really difficult to qualify; but with the point last night and holding Jamaica to a draw, even though perhaps some people might have thought that we deserved to win the game, it has certainly put us in the shake-up come September and October and it is really great to be still in it,” Curtis said.
“We are certainly competing and we set out to compete from the start. We said it wasn’t just being in this round, we want to compete and try to get through and we are certainly doing that at the moment,” he added.
The coach added that the team, despite being unlucky upfront where they created multiple scoring opportunities, held their own against a formidable Jamaican team.
“We competed really well with a strong Jamaican side in terms of moving the ball, passing the ball and creating opportunities so in terms of performance, certainly pleased. I am a little bit disappointed not to have come away with three points, but we did create chances and were unfortunate not to put them away,” he said.
“The things that have got us success in terms of that attacking play and that togetherness, if we can continue to work at that and continue to stick together then hopefully we can get results against Guatemala in September,” Curtis added.
Curtis said that the coaching staff made the best decisions based on how the game progressed but said it was difficult to remove players who were doing well.
“We made the best decisions we could at the time; it was a really close game last night and it could have gone either way. The guys that came on were fantastic in terms of their attitude and their impact on the game and the guys on the pitch were also performing very well so there were some really fantastic performances out there last night. What we have talked about over the last two weeks is a real team effort and I think we really displayed that again last night,” he said.
Curtis and most of the national players will now turn their attention back to Antigua Barracuda FC and the USL as they travel to Charleston to take on the Charleston Battery on June 15 and then to Florida to contest Orlando City on June 17.
The professional outfit will return home on June 29 to host Charleston Battery at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds.
In the Qualifiers, Antigua & Barbuda will play Guatemala on September 7 in Guatemala before playing the home leg on September 11.
The Benna Boys will then host the USA on October 12 before playing the Jamaica away leg on October 16.