Bermuda celebrate going through to Nicaragua
Bermuda advanced to next year’s Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship after being confirmed as winners of their qualifying group in Haiti last night.
Jamaica’s 3-1 triumph over Trinidad & Tobago at the Stade Sylvio Cator in Port-au-Prince sent Bermuda, who had already completed their group matches, through to next year’s tournament in Nicaragua. Jamaica’s win also sealed Bermuda’s place in tomorrow’s final of the Concacaf Caribbean Women’s Under-17 qualifying final round against the host nation.
Bermuda’s entourage attended last night’s match between Jamaica and Trinidad and celebrated among themselves in the stands after the final whistle.
“The players are excited and enjoying the moment,” Aaron Denkins, the interim Bermuda coach, told The Royal Gazette. “They celebrated, but not too much because even though it gave us the group lead and automatic qualification we remained respectful of the Trinidad players and fans that were in the stadium.”
Bermuda Under-17 coach Naquita Robinson, who was unable to make the trip as she is pregnant, was delighted to receive the good news from Haiti.
“I am proud of these girls but I expected it [to qualify],” she said.
“This is a result of the work they put in and they may end up being the best team at this tournament with the way the girls are connecting.
“These young ladies are a family and play for each other. You won’t hear them saying a negative word to each other on the field and off the field they are friends. They are always communicating off the field and look out for each other.”
Robinson’s assistant coach Vance Brown was also unable to make the trip as he is getting married today.
Bermuda were held to a 2-2 draw against Trinidad and edged Jamaica 3-2 in their group F matches.
“This is a great for Bermuda and our girls programme,” Denkins said. “In the face of all adversity we were able to say that we are one of the best teams in the region.”
Denkins said the players have kept their feet planted firmly on the ground and stuck to their task admirably throughout the tournament.
“The players have remained humble and focused,” he added.
“We gave them the day off yesterday [Thursday] and they spent most of it completing school assignments and resting.
“Today we went right back to work, up early training and talking football.”
Denkins took advantage of the opportunity to run the rule over tomorrow’s opponents Haiti during their 2-0 win over Cuba last night.
“We watched the game and will now focus on our next opponent,” he said. “Haiti look strong and aggressive. But based on the match and staff we will come up with a plan.”
Bermuda’s match against Haiti will be preceded by a third-place play-off between Jamaica and Puerto Rico to determine the final Caribbean qualifying spot for next year’s Concacaf Under-17 Championship.
Canada, Mexico and the United States join Nicaragua as automatic qualifiers for the eight-team tournament. The final spot will be taken by the winners of the Central American final round qualifying tournament — contested by Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and host nation Panama — that begins tomorrow.
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