I expect us to be competitive: Gomes not looking for CFU under-14 title just yet

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Haiti’s girls celebrate victory in the 2021 CFU Girls’ U-14 Challenge Series.
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By Neto Baptiste

Technical director for football, Sowerby Gomes, expects the country’s girls’ under-14 footballers to be competitive but does not expect them to lift the title at the end of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Girls’ U-14 Challenge Series slated to run from August 18-28 here in Antigua.

The former national and Villa Lions defender, in an interview with Observer media, said that although the future is bright for women’s football, this tournament would more or less serve as a learning experience for the young players.

“I don’t see us winning out the tournament but certainly we will be competitive in this particular under-14 tournament. We have a bright future within the age category but it is just for us now to show up as a team. What is going to be happening is that our girls are going to be playing over a period of time and how well they will adjust and adapt to the stress factor and the heat and the grueling competition is left to be seen but I am very hopeful they will go out and do well,” he said. 

Nonetheless, Gomes said the players are well prepared in all areas and should give a good account of themselves. More importantly Gomes added, is the experience they stand to gain.

“Over the last eight weeks the team has been in preparation for that and not just preparation physically but we’ve also been putting them through some grueling phases mentally. It certainly is a young squad because we never really had a vibrant female programme at that young age group. We had started like a grassroots development stage and it was from that grassroots development stage that we were able to use those girls to filter into the under-14 team,” he said.

Gomes hinted that the final team selections will be made in the coming days. The team is coached by former national goalkeeper Nikisha Samuel.

Antigua and Barbuda will contest Tier II, Group B of the competition alongside Bermuda, Barbados and Bonaire.

The CFU Challenge Series is a developmental competition held alternatingly for girls and boys. The series is the introduction to international competition and exposure for players. It is also a pivotal component of the CFU’s Next Generation Referee Course. It affords regional match officials who possess the abilities to advance to the FIFA International Refereeing Lists technical and practical training. The series is also a breeding ground for match and venue coordinators.

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