National Premier Division Club champions Guardian General Hope International’s maiden outing in the FLOW Concacaf Caribbean Championships (FCCC) in the Dominican Republic recently, has been a worthwhile experience.
Despite not advancing to the semi-final stage, players and coaching staff hold the view that the outfit is better served after the exposure.
Hope International finished with one win and two losses in Group D of the Championships
Defender Samuel Matthews, one of many on their first overseas tour, assessed: “It was a very good experience, because we met teams which are up to standard, and who are more professional than we are… They play structured Football….. We were the under dogs in the Tournament, but we proved differently …We went out there for the first time and we shocked the teams because they did not expect that type of performance from us.”
Sharing Matthews’ sentiments was striker Kevin Samuel.
“It was a pretty good experience… I still have a lot to learn, I got a lot of positives out of the tournament,” Samuel said.
He was glad that he was the one to go down in the club’s history for scoring the first goal in their debut outing in the regional tournament.
Meanwhile, Hope International’s Head Coach Dwayne Dennie in reviewing his first stint, stated, “We did our best, as the team carried out the tactics.”
On a personal note, Dennie commented, “The experience has been beautiful for me… At some points it felt tough, some points doubting yourself, considering it was the first time I had that opportunity on this big stage, but to be honest it was fun at times.”
Dennie highlighted that having had a look in at the regional Football landscape, he believed that Hope International should be better prepared should another occasion arise for them to represent St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Hope International began their campaign with an uncomplicated 4-1 win over Olympique de Cayenne at the Panamericano Stadium.
Kevin Samuel, 12th minute, Enrique Millington, 45th minute, Nazir Mc Burnette, 71st and Joseph Douglas (captain), 90+2 minute penalty, converted for the SVG Champions; Delano Baptiste registered for Olympique de Cayenne in the 45+2 minute.
In their second, Hope International was unable to replicate their goal scoring form in their second game, going under by 3-1 to Scherpenheuvel of Curacao.
Playing at the Panamericano Stadium, Hope International went behind in the 34th minute when Nicholas Rocha scored for Scherpenheuvel. Maximiliano Ciarnello doubled the lead in the 61st minute, before Joseph Douglas cut the deficit for Hope International in the 70th minute. Benjamin Gill then struck in the 86th minute, to assure victory for the Curacao club.
In their final match at the Felix Sanchez Stadium, Hope International was clearly more competitive but could not get the better of Cavaly, a professional Haitian club.
Nazir Mc Burnette had equalized for Hope International in the 31st minute, three minutes after Roody Joseph had scored for Cavaly. Joseph sealed the match with his second in the 79th minute.
Cavaly went on to win the title, beating Inter Mongoe Tapoe 3-0 in last Tuesday’s Final.