The 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers are underway and so far team Curacao has dominated their Vincentian counterparts in the first and only game between the pair of Group C teams. Vincy Heat suffered a 5 nil defeat after last Thursday’s match up at Willemstad.
But the upset hardly came as a surprise to soccer fans across the globe. Curacao went into this round of qualifiers clearly favored to win. They are graded 76th in FIFA’s World Rankings while their now defeated opponent, Vincy Heat, is positioned at 168th. Additionally the Curacao team is supervised by former Chelsea and Netherlands Manager Guus Hiddink – a soccer professional of some acclaim and staffed by players from the Netherlands, Romania and the English Championship.
NICE Radio’s Roxell John caught up with Vincy Heat’s head coach, Kendale Mercury, who blamed the less than ideal performance on a failure to follow the game plan as instructed. Mercury said, “we had a really poor first half. But the reality is – and the reality I want people to understand in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines that I’ve been saying and saying for years; and I’ve been crucified for it more than once – that our local football is extremely poor. It is poor.
“We lost the first half because our players are not accustomed to playing this high level of tactical football. That is why Curacao beat us especially with 4 in the first half; but tactically they beat us because we could not employ the tactical strategies that we worked on and they were told to do!”
Although Mercury who has spearheaded the Vincentian senior men’s team since January 2019, noted some satisfaction with the second half showing, his view is that more commitment is needed.
“… proud of the display in the second half and I take comfort in that but people will not see football like how I see football. We were 80 – 85 percecnt good tactically, physically and otherwise in the second half. That is why we lost the second half 1 nil. It’s a learning process… lifestyle discipline to take SVG to the highest level. That’s what we have to find and get the players to do,” Head Coach Kendale Mercury said.
Vincy Heat would face off against the British Virgin Islands next Tuesday, again in Curacao, as they work to earn their spot in the next round of qualifying games.