Saint Lucia set for FIFA World Cup qualifiers

By Terry Finisterre, Sports Correspondent

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Saint’s Lucia’s national football team.

Head coach Francis ‘Baba’ Lastic has named a 20-member squad for Saint Lucia’s FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 qualifiers against Antigua-Barbuda.

The national team will play both of their Round 2 games away in St John’s, due to the unavailability of a suitable home venue.

The games will be played next Wednesday and then the following Sunday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Saint Lucia’s selection includes four changes and one addition from the team that finished fourth and last at home in the Windward Islands Men’s Tournament. Central defender Dwight Degazon, Marchand goalkeeper Alton Roberts, midfielders Romiel Felix (Central Castries) and Everton Lambert (Gros Islet) have all been left out of the team, which is scheduled to travel to Antigua on Monday.

Replacing them is a mix of youth and experience. In-form Gros Islet goalkeeper will provide competition to Randy Poleon as the last line of defense. Jamil Joseph, who is 24 years old, returns to the national team. The frontman for Caledonia AIA in the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League missed out on the Windward Islands tournament due to club commitments.

The young attacking trio of Travis Thomas, Levi Francis Altidore and Elijah Louis has also been included. Thomas is from Dennery, and has also played for Uptown Rebels in Vieux Fort. Louis is a youngster who has been prolific for Northern United and Gros Islet. And Levi, who has played with W Connection in the TTO Pro League, has been in and out of the national team.

“When I look at these guys in training, I like what I see,” said coach Lastic, reflecting on the fact his team scored just two goals in the four-team sub-regional competition. “They are hungry. And some of our players, when the coaching staff looked at our performance from Windwards, they were just too relaxed, so we saw it fitting to introduce some new blood.”

Of course, it’s not all change for Saint Lucia. Midfield general and Footballer Of The Year, Sheldon Emmanuel returns as captain. Midfielder / forward Lester Joseph rejoins the team from Cunupia FC in Trinidad and Tobago’s NSFL. Midfielders Tremain Shayne Paul and Shervon Malik St Prix  and fullback Kurt Frederick all hail from W Connection FC.

The other regular overseas-based player added to the squad is midfielder Zaccheus Polius from FC Parham in Antigua-Barbuda

England-based defender Melanius Danny Mullarkey apparently did enough on debut to impress, despite being harshly sent off in the second half against Grenada. So, too, did Erickson Reid, another young attacker from Anse La Raye.

Super League champions Gros Islet have centre-forward Troy Greenidge, winger Eden Charles and defender John Perry Joseph joining Poleon and Louis. Emmery Edward of Central Castries will be given another chance to prove himself in the back four, whilst Sabbatus Hunte from Dennery should get a run in the midfield, and David Henry of Canaries will add to the attacking options.

Still missing through injury are defender Pernal Wiliams of L’Aiglon in Martinique and Eric Gabriel of Anse La Raye. Among those who might have bolstered the national team, Italy-based Zaine Pierre and France-based Caniggia Elva have both been down with injury.

Aston Villa central defender Janoi Donacien played much of his season on loan at Tranmere Rovers, where he excelled, but although he has been on island in recent weeks, the 22-year-old has not reached out to the technical staff of the Saint Lucia Football Association.

With eight under-23 players in the squad, the failed Windward Islands campaign fresh in their minds, and playing both legs away from home, it will be interesting to see how this group performs against the Benna Boys.

The Antiguans depend heavily on players based in the United States and United Kingdom, but they have incorporated them well into the overall team ethos. In 2014, Antigua-Barbuda were (briefly) the top-ranked team in the Caribbean.

Even so, they needed a last-gasp goal to earn a come-from-behind 2-1 win when these two sides last met in Gold Cup qualifying last year.

Jamil Joseph, Pernal Williams and Simeon Jackson.

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29 comments

  1. why was dwight not sellected ..when he makes the all star selection for the ncaa in the us

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  2. The English player was great maybe best on the team unlucky red card

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  3. @ Terry Finisterre. Travis Thomas and Levi Altidore are both from Micoud, they play for Leeds United in Micoud and in recent times featured for Uptown Rebels in V.x. They are both on the Micoud senior team. All the best to them and team St Lucia.

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  4. 1.2 chin has been more than credible as a national keeper and deserves his pick based on performance but his club situation is just plain ridiculous.
    2.Troy's goal poaching ability is still effective but he's not the best forward in the island, not even in his own club.
    3. The service supply from the wingers is lot like WASCO and the current water situation.
    4. I agree with you about the limitations of selection process, just not sure how to solve this dilemma.
    5.The british right back was decent, but really not anything to write home about.
    6. Kenvy from Dennery may be one of the better prospects at right wing...but as usual we generally pick the foreign based players who just ride the bench in Trinidad.

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  5. Back in the day, they refused better players from the south the opportunity to represent the island in both cricket and football. Let's hope this is not the case today. We need the best representation for the island ! Let us rally around the selected team. St Lucia most come first !!

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  6. please please not again...arent we tired of wasting money participating in Olympics ..world cup and the likes...we need to be realistic ppl...regional competitions yes but world cup ,please be serious..stop wasting money..i believe st.lucia is so full of talent that it breaks my heart to see so much of it go to waste in the arts ,sports ,academics..irrespective though we have to be honest about our pursuits guys....to the coaches,football associations and the powers that be i trust that you have an idea as to what world class is..i am an avid football fan local and international ..we are not there ..world cup qualifiers come on....and to the young ppl of my country..if you are truly interested at being the best you can be ..reaching the heights of true glory in your field ..migrate.migrate migrate.where there is the infrastructure ie.finacial and physical,technology,expertise and reward.footballers to england,spain,italy ,france etc..rap-pop artist to england ,canada the states..reggea artist..england,canada jamaica..visual artist-fashion designers ..france,england ,spain....apart from that lets stay in our section and stop tryn to bite off what is too wide to get our jaws around in the first place

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  7. Elva? To me I read somewhere that he would be playing his football for Canada, why is his name being mentioned in the story?

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    • Terry Finisterre

      Young Mr Elva remains a Saint Lucian citizen, eligible to play for Saint Lucia. He does not hold Canadian citizenship, and is therefore ineligible to play for Canada.

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  8. Slick Willy, I think I agree with. When I first saw him play at 15/16 and played with him he was really deadly but........now not sure what or who to blame, but he still is our best finisher

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  9. What on earth is happening to St Lucian football? Why on earth is the away game being played in Antigua? That is a crying shame for a country who just hosted a tournament involving four national teams including itself. What has St Lucian football been reduced to? If your stadium is good enough to host a competition of that stature then it's good enough to host an away game to Antigua. St lucia should not be playing the away leg of this World Cup qualifier in Antigua.No way!

    The national team needs all the support it can get in order to win these two games and to advance to the next round. If they lose these games then it's curtains till Qatar 2022. One expects teams like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran,Palestine, Syria to play their away games in the host country or a third country if both of the countries I mentioned above are playing against each other. That is because of the security risks in these countries. There are no such dangers in St Lucia. The powers that be had sufficient time to get a playing field ready for this crucial away game. If they could not have done so then they should have postponed the game until they were able to find somewhere in the country to host the game.

    These WCQ games are being played too early. The actual World Cup is in 2018 and we are in 2015..It's three years from now. In Europe the qualifiers starts next year September after the European championships. Why can't the Caribbean WCQ start around the same time? Why is Caribbean soccer being treated so disdainfully? Starting the Qualifiers so so early shows nothing but a lack of respect for the Caribbean region.

    In our part of the World the Americas we have won the World Cup a total of 9 times.
    Uruguay won twice (2)Brazil five times (5) and Argentina twice (2)Why are we treated so differently to other regions of the world? Why isn't CONCACAF speaking out for our football? There is an investigation going on about corruption and it will be irresponsible of me to comment on this - Putting this investigation aside CONCACAF has done little to boost the numbers at the World Cup.They seem to care only about the bigger countries and leave the smaller ones to fend for themselves.That is not on.

    The manager should make it his duty to pick a good team that can win matches. One only has to look at the performance of the team in last month's tournament to realise that the team is weak and incapable. They came out last on home soil and this says a lot - Alarm bells should be ringing now. Who is the captain? I read that he is in his mid thirties. If he is not up to it then he should be replaced with a younger choice. There are not many thirtysomethings in world football these days.From winning the cup last year to coming out last at home. That is simply not good enough Team St Lucia.

    As for Janoi Donacien it's not that long he was granted temporary leave to remain in the UK and he must be weighing his options. In order for him to play for England he needs to play in the premiership. If he continues to play for Tranmere then he stands no chance of playing for England as Tranmere is not in the premiership and only players plying their trade in there will be selected.This is a crucial game and St Lucia needs it's best players. You need a team that will be willing to play both defensive and attacking football at the same time.You need to go there with the believe that you can win and will win. There are no two ways about it. You have to win both games to advance..

    St Lucian football between 1978 and 1982 was of a high standard.You had teams like Central Castries who were always being crowned champions, then was Vieux Fort, followed by Soufriere.. Among these teams you had players like John Browne,Junior Watson, Bock,Duboulay,Fairest, Abra Stephen,Low She,Dudley Foster, Michael Bobb,Jaws, Bage,Poyotte,I-maker,Doo Merry, Barlow, Broff,Julius George, Lazy, Hermingild Francis, Stewart Charles.. The list is endless and these players showed commitment and passion when they played for their respective teams. They also represented the national team well and as a result St Lucia won Popham many times and was a force to be reckoned with in Caribbean football.

    St Lucia could have made it to the World Cup with these players had CONCACAF been properly organised.St lucia had the players back then but things were different as FIFA and CONCACAF was not reaching out to the smaller islands.

    This current crop of players need to believe in themselves. They need to go out there and win. They need to get all six points to advance. I wish Team St Lucia all the Very best and May they get to the World Cup in 2018... You Go St Lucia! You can make it if you give your best.Good Luck!!!

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    • Terry Finisterre

      Windward Islands is considered a series of friendlies.

      This is actually the second round. Some teams played months ago.

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  10. "Palejee" from mon repos has more potential than most of these guys, he has alot to show... pick the yute! gosh man

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  11. Good points but Troy is not past his best. He should have started the 1st game. We will loose both games as our footballers have ability but no intelligence.

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    • Please don't be so negative. Give the boys a chance. Say something positive like St Lucian will win...

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  12. Hope they can fix some of the mistakes made during Windwards. All the best to them.

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  13. Randy Poleon not playin 4 no club but yet still his always called up.Alton is much beta dan those 2 Gros Islet goalkeepers by far but the coach neva seems 2 play him coach Francis babba Lastic is jus bias an predigist.We have beta players all ova d country dat cud make d team

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  14. How is it we have no field to host a wcq game no nice

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  15. A few observations
    1.Espy lacks discipline and focus in the national sqaurd
    2.Sherv lacks commitment, fight and heart
    3.Jamil plays central defense for his Trinidad club which shows that any attempt at him being a forward is a farce
    4.Troy's best days are behind him and he's only 21/22
    5.John Perry making the squad is good for john perry but a sad state about the inability of st lucia to develop youth football talent
    6.The Emmerand Edward project needs to stop...
    7.Zacc has never been the same since the injury, time to move on
    ...to be continued

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    • While i agree with 1,6 and 7.......how can troy's best days be behind him when he just scored 9 goals in 4 games including the only goal in the finals to win the super league?

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      • Diego Costa .The level of competition locally is a false barometer.The Troy at 16 would of probably scored 20 in those 4 games.

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        • I agree....but you have to go with what you have. Our problem is not being able to identify the talent across the island. you are only seen if your club or district is playing the big games. no one sees the talented player unless he is involved in the big games

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  16. keep hope alive

    Isn't Jamil a central defender for his Trindadian club...

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  17. good luck.

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  18. This team is much weaker than the Winwards team, whereas WC qualifier is of a higher standard. The GK who was dropped is better than both named above. Travis is not from Dennery, do your research. This Lucian coaches don't have a clue, they all must go with the administration.

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    • Terry Finisterre

      Alton did not look good in the one game he played in Windwards. At all. And maybe there must be more than one Travis Thomas, because the only one I know of gas played in Dennery for Le Pang and Wisdom 18 Plus.

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  19. This is just going to be another embarrassment for the Country, our football structure stinks, we want to walk before we can crawl, our present crop of players can't compete with none of the Islands, we just not good enough, u have incompetent people running football with no plan, the whole structure needs revamping, questionable characters organizing competitions, St Lucia football is a mafia organization

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