Benna Boys Ready

England-based midfielder, Joshua Parker (left), steers the ball into the back of the net against the BVI at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground. Parker said that the home team is confident but cautious heading into Friday’s match. (File photo)

The Antigua and Barbuda senior national football team is ready for their crucial opener in the CONCACAF Nations Cup slated for Friday at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.

This is according to one senior player, Joshua Parker, who said they however remain cautious and wary of the potential of the visiting St. Lucians after being forced to earn a second leg World Cup qualification against the same team in 2015.

“I just think we’ve learnt from that game and learnt to not underestimate our opponents because everyone expects us to come out 5-0 or 6-0 because the thinking is that St. Lucia is not good and I think we have fallen into that bad habit of thinking that because we are Antigua and because of what we have achieved for such a small island we should be beating these teams five or six nil without realising that they took our blueprint and get players from overseas that play either against us or at the same level as us so it’s not a case of beating these teams five or six nil. We should be happy just to win the game,” he said.

Hosting both legs of the home and away clash in June of 2015, Antigua and Barbuda were beaten 3-1 by the visitors in the opening match before returning four days later on June 13 to claim a 4-1 victory and overhaul St. Lucia’s two goal advantage going into the contest.

One other England-based player, Calaum Jahraldo-Martin, gave the team high marks for its readiness ahead of the match, urging fans to turnout in their numbers.

“Since I’ve been here and around the team, it’s the best team we’ve had since I’ve been playing for Antigua and right now we can do the things we all want to accomplish. By having the meeting we had yesterday [Wednesday] which was all positive, everybody is on the right path now,” the player said.

“We are looking for a positive energy, support and the fans looking to be entertained by us because I know that’s what people like to do, be entertained so that’s what we want to do, entertain the fans and show them a good time and show them we are here to win and do it in style. We are all as a unit, all as one team and all here to play for Antigua and Barbuda,” he added.

Friday’s contest is set for 6:00 p.m. kickoff at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground and carries an admission fee of $20 per adult and $10 per child 12 years old and under.

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