As St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Senior Men’s Football team – Vincy Heat, prepares for the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers, Head Coach Kendale Mercury wants the general public to be “realistic” about the team’s chances.
Mercury stated emphatically that his team does not have what it takes at this juncture to qualify for the World Cup finals, but there are other achievable goals.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is placed in Group C, alongside Guatemala, Curacao, Cuba and the British Virgin Islands.
The Vincentians are set to play Curacao in Curacao on 25th March and host the British Virgin Islands on 30th March at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.
Then in June, St Vincent and the Grenadines will be away to Guatemala on the 4th and take on Cuba here, four days later.
Entering the qualifiers with an open mind, Mercury saidin an interview “Realistically, we are going to try and do our personal best in this group … The Group is very tough but it is football and anything can happen on the day.”
Mercury admits that he understands everyone wants the best and that best usually has a high measurement, e.g. reaching the last round of the CONCACAF qualifiers or even further.
Mercury, who is into his second stint as Head Coach, having returned to the post in late 2018, noted that he is carving out a philosophy into which, he hopes, stakeholders would buy.
“People who are supporting Football,., fans especially, have to understand that it will take time…We are on a medium to long term development drive with the senior men’s national team, and holistically we are trying to spread that ‘philosophy’ to all of the other teams… It is not a quick fix,” Mercury related.
Part of the Head Coach’s ‘philosophy’ is to gradually incorporate some sub-20 players, with a view of realistically making a push towards World Cup 2026 qualification.
He disclosed that whilst preparations have been hampered because of the restrictions/protocols occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, a camp for local players should commence on or about the 19th February.
In addition to what encumbrances there are on the ground, Mercury noted that preparations are also being hampered by the uncertainty of getting the services of the overseas based players.
Notwithstanding obstacles raised by travel and other attending health protocols, Mercury said, “We are trying our best to see how we can get those players – especially those players who are available – to St Vincent (and the Grenadines), for the World Cup Qualifiers … The issues that we have, which are out of our control, are the health measures and protocols that are in place right now at various jurisdictions, … airports mainly…,” Mercury proffered.
“The other challenge we face with the foreign based players is getting them here at a particular time, so that they can have enough time to quarantine and after that join up with the team for training,” the Head Coach acknowledged.
St Vincent and the Grenadines has a mandatory fourteen day’s quarantine for persons entering the country.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines was eliminated from advancement to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.