Thursday, 28 June 2012 02:30
By caribarena news
Antigua St. John’s - Antigua Barracuda Football Club will seek to rev into top gear this weekend, with two home games against Charleston Battery.
The first game will be played on Friday and the second on Sunday. The matches will be played at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds and kick-off time on both days is 7 pm.
The home games are pivotal for the Barracuda, who are in their sophomore season in the United Soccer League (USL.) With 10 games already gone, the local team is 2 and 8. Additionally, they have a score to settle with the tourists, who beat them in two stateside outings this season, with score lines of 4-0 and 3-0.
Antigua Barracuda FC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Bowers acknowledged the serious challenge ahead, but he also highlighted the development aspect, which is one of the rationales for establishing the professional team.
“These are young professionals who are still on a learning curve, and part of that process is getting to where we want to be. Nobody ever said it was going to be an easy road. While it is a tough road to travel, it is a necessary one and it will make the players better in terms of character and professional development,” Bowers said.
Of the weekend’s games, Bowers admitted that management and players are keen to win, since the results of the previous encounters against Battery did not reflect the effort on the field.
“We were much better than the score lines suggested,” Bowers said. “We’re out to prove something on home turf.”
The CEO encouraged residents to attend the games, saying, “People should come out because it is part of the development of the national team.”
That was a reference to the fact the majority of the ’Cudas comprises the core of the senior national football team, The Benna Boys.
The national team is presently contesting the semifinal round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in a group with Guatemala, Jamaica and the United States, although there is a break until September.
The Benna Boys remain in the hunt after two games, with a loss to the USA and a draw against Jamaica.
The USL Barracuda games are also being used to prepare the team in the bid to make it to Rio.
“Many of us were pleased with the showing of the team in the World Cup Qualifiers, and the community should continue to demonstrate to these guys that they are still behind them, and come out and encourage them to do well,” Bowers said. “Additionally, it would be nice if the players can feel that playing at home is a comfort zone.”
But the nuts and bolts of the weekend are that the Barracudas need to accumulate points. After having a commendable top-ten finish last year, the team is currently in a must-win position with their remaining games if they are to make the playoffs.
“We really need to kick start the season this weekend because, in order for us to make the playoffs, we will need to win the majority of the 14 remaining games,” Bowers said.
Frankly put, the team has to win at least 10 games. “We have to stop a lot of people,” Bowers explained.
“And that’s why we need the twelfth man, the crowd, to show support this weekend,” the CEO added.