There is no reason: Cole said players lost mental battle after conceding early goal against St. Lucia

Antigua and Barbuda’s Nicelle Drew shields the ball from a St. Lucia player during their Group C clash on Friday.
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By Neto Baptiste

Expressing displeasure over the country’s eight-nil (8-0) loss to St. Lucia in the 2022 Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship Qualifiers on Friday, development director for women’s football here, Lisa Cole, said there is “no reason” for the embarrassing display.

Speaking with Observer media Cole, a former USA coach and player, said the team simply did not show up against a team they should have dominated.

“There is no reason for us to get beaten by St. Lucia 8-0, but I was really proud of the effort they put in against Curacao, the better team. I don’t know that we know how to go out and dominate, or we don’t know how to go out and impose out will; we just kind of wait on what the game gives us and then we perform based on that. We need to be on front foot and I think that’s something we need to change just within the culture,” he said.

St. Lucia was buoyed by a five-goal blitz from Krysan St. Louis who struck in as early as the second minute. St. Louis added goals in minutes 53, 54, 68 and 76.  The other goals were scored by Arnicka Louis (20’), Kylah Solomon (59’) and Faith Regis (80’).

Cole said the team just never recovered after conceding an early goal.

“We played very well against Curacao and then we just didn’t rise to this challenge against St. Lucia. They [St. Lucia] got an early goal against the run of play and we just never recovered from that. We went down to play two games and we played really well in one and we just didn’t have the right mentality in the second,” she said. 

The director said there will be more focus on building the mental capacity of the players going forward.

“I think there is a general sense of like, we can get away with doing certain things off the field and we can get away with not necessarily being as clean as we should be on the field at times, and that when pressure comes you rely on your habits, and of you’ve developed good habits then you rise to the occasion,” Cole said.

“I think that overall, just within the programme, that this is our oldest of the youth groups, and right now they just don’t have the right habits, so when things start to go the wrong way they go internal versus external and encouraging each other, pulling each other forward or working a little harder, and things like that,” she added.

Antigua and Barbuda finished at the bottom of Group C as they also lost their opener to hosts, Curacao, 1-0 last Wednesday.

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