(SNO) — Saint Lucia is likely to field an under-23 team for this year’s Windward Islands Senior Men’s Football Tournament, which is set to run from February 28 to March 8, 2019 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
According to sources within the Saint Lucia Football Association Inc (SLFA), the idea is to use the competition to help prepare Saint Lucia’s team for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification tournament, which will be confined to the U23 age group. The team list is expected to be released in short order.
Clearly, the future is now for Saint Lucia football. When the national St. Lucia team lines up against Grenada for their opening match on February 28 at Victoria Park, Kingstown, the squad is likely to include a number of players who have transitioned through the U15, U17, and U20 ranks. That group could comprise young professionals like overseas defenders Sebastien Ribot, Melvin Doxilly, Otev Lawrence, and Joshua Solomon-Davies, goalkeeper Vino Barclett, and midfielders Cassius Joseph and Julius Desean Lansiquot.
The bulk of the team, though, may be made up of local U20 players, such as Dillon Fannis, Jardel Hakeem Harrow, George Louis, Bryant Polius (aged just 17), Ectus David, Daniel Biscette, and Zane Amedee.
The coaching staff can also choose from senior international players just into their twenties, like Ridel Stanislas and Delon Neptune.
The team is unlikely to feature many overseas collegians, if any at all. That probably means that youngsters like Zacherinus Simon, Djal Augustin, and Jervel Tobierre will not feature.
Several promising players turn 23 this year, and it is left to be seen whether the technical team will exercise any flexibility in using them for the Windwards tournament. Numbered among them are striker Jevick MacFarlane, central defender Alvinus Myers, defender Shawn Evans, and charismatic midfielder Gregson President.
Saint Lucia has won the Windwards tournament just once since its reintroduction in 2001. To date, there have been five previous editions, dating back to 2001, the two most recent having been in Saint Lucia and Grenada (where the hosts won in 2017). Barbados will compete with the four Windward Islands nations, the fourth being the Commonwealth of Dominica.
In the past, sadly, the Windwards tournament has failed to attract “official” status, and success or lack thereof in this competition could mean little for the international ranking or stature of any of the teams involved.