By Neto Baptiste
Former national defender and coach of the Montserrat senior men’s national team, George Dublin, said that despite the difficulties brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, preparations are well on the way for next month’s leg of the CONCACAF 2021 World Cup Qualifiers.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Dublin said that although preparations are being done remotely as most of their players are based in Europe, they should be ready ahead of their opening clash against Antigua and Barbuda on March 24.
“Well, you know, due to the pandemic that the preparations are a bit hazy and it is more left to guys that are currently engaged in playing, because most of our team [players] are based in the UK, so most of our preparations are based on just monitoring how regular they play. Those that are not plying regular because they play in the lower leagues that are not being played, then we send them a routine to go through to make sure they are still active,” he said.
The Greenbay Hoppers defender also expressed confidence that majority of the team’s players based in Europe will make themselves available despite concerns over the ongoing pandemic.
“We and our players have a very good relationship and we deal with our players with a level of respect and we talk with them on and off football season, so we don’t have an issue with our players. Everybody is ready and willing to go and it’s just to be able to send all of the right paperwork and to send them on time and it’s sweet sailing from there,” he said
Dublin believes, however, that home and away matches may not be as plausible as many countries are hoping and that neutral venues that could host all teams at one venue may have to be considered.
“I doubt anyone of us is thinking about playing in the Caribbean or in our home territories. We all are probably looking more to finding a neutral venue that could accommodate all of us without such protocols and so forth. There is no other route and if they want football to play because it doesn’t seem as if any of the governments are bending to change the 14 days quarantine,” he said.
Montserrat will contest Group A of the CONCACAF qualifiers alongside El Salvador, Grenada, the US Virgin Islands and Antigua and Barbuda. The Benna Boys are scheduled to face Montserrat on 24th March 2001 before taking on the US Virgin Islands three days later. The Benna Boys will then round off their group campaign against Grenada on April 6.