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Saint Lucia to meet Antigua in World Cup qualifying

By Terry Finisterre, Sports Correspondent

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It seems like just the other day that World Cup Brazil 2014 was over, but the qualifying draw for World Cup Russia 2018 has already been announced by the world governing body for football, FIFA. Team Saint Lucia begins its campaign in June of this year, against the Benna Boys of Antigua-Barbuda.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) held its draw for the initial phases of the CONCACAF Preliminary Competition for the global tournament on Friday in Miami, with 27 of the 35 CONCACAF Member Associations involved.

The qualifying tournament will include five rounds in total, from March 2015 all the way yo 2017. Round one features seven home-and-away series, among nations ranked 22-35 in the region in the August 2014 FIFA rankings. Round Two features winners from Round One plus 13 additional national teams.

Saint Lucia and Antigua-Barbuda will play Match 9, in St John’s on 8 June and in SaintLucia on 16 June. The winning team will advance to Round Three from August 31-September 8. Round Three consists features Round Two winners, joined by the two Member Associations ranked 7 and 8 – Jamaica and Haiti.

Saint Lucia has recent history with the Benna Boys. When they met last October at the Caribbean Cup, the men from the Leeward Islands – with a squad featuring nine overseas players – earned a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Windward Islands champions.

It was Antigua-Barbuda’s third consecutive win over Saint Lucia, in a series that goes back to 1990. Saint Lucia won 2-0 (1990), 1-0 (2001) and 2-1 (2004) before losing three on the trot, 1-6 (2008), 0-5 (2010) and last year’s reversal. Four of those games were played in St John’s.

Also in October, Antigua-Barbuda attained its highest-ever position in the FIFA / Coca-Cola World Ranking since that metric was introduced by the world governing body in 1993. Moving up a whopping 69 slots in the September rankings, Antigua-Barbuda found themselves 80th in the world.

Now, they have dropped to 95th, but that will be cold comfort for Saint Lucia, who languish at 140th in the world. That is ahead of Barbados, Grenada and Dominica, but behind St Vincent & the Grenadines, and of course Antigua-Barbuda.

It should be interesting to see how Saint Lucia build on a decent run of matches in 2014. Whether they will call on potential recruits such as Janoi Donacien, Caniggia Elva, Zaine Pierre, Dominic Poleon and the likes will certainly be of great interest to local fans.

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15 comments

  1. I believe the overseas bit cause I know there are many St Lucian playing in lower leagues in countries like England,Canada,USA etc who would relish the opportunity to make an impact an make their country proud if the right steps are taken and proper accommodations put in place but my question is: Is the ministry of sports up to it?

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  2. St lucia can get there if there is no politics in team selection call all overseas players an host a good camp with big friendly games not week teams but international teams in our region such as canada USA Mexico etc then u evaluate players

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    • It's that overseas players bit... And we lost friendlies to JAM and MQUE, you want to take on USA? Nah.

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      • Please stop being a pessimist. St Lucia can go all the way to represent. What is the big deal about playing the USA? They are CONCACAF members like St Lucia and the rest of the Caribbean. You have no faith in the team.It's petty comments like this and others that is keeping our structure and standard of football down. They said the same about Haiti in 1974 and Haiti went on to qualify against the odds even if some of what happened to get there was controversial.

        I am old enough to remember Haiti in the 1974 World Cup. The late Manno Sannon scored that goal against Dino Zoff of Italy. Manno wrote a book before he died in French and Kwayol. This book was about to be translated in English by a St Lucian journalist based in Europe.Sadly Manno passed away in 2007 in Florida.

        No one gave Jamaica and Trinidad a chance in qualifying yet they did back in 1998 and 2006 respectively. St Lucia has the players who can help them unto the road to Moscow 2018. Between the period of 1978 through to 1982 St Lucia could have qualified for the WC. There were some good footballers back then. You had guys like Low-she, John Browne, Bock, Jaws,Duboulay, Badge,Abra,Fairest,I-Makar,Poyotte,St. Rose,Watson,Hall, Jah Yout just to name a few. Football back then was of a high standard and exciting. The teams that these players represented was always pulling in the crowds. We were all passionate about the game. St lucia won the Popham championships many times and did well in the Caribbean Football Union's competition. St lucia still has the potential to go all the way and should allow no one to say otherwise.We need to appeal to the overseas players to come and play for their country. Come represent Helen. Your country needs you now. Let's organise matches against the USA, Brazil,Venezuela, Holland, Scotland, Poland etc. Our boys can stand their own in any duel with these well establish teams anytime. They will give them a run for their money.

        I think we need to set up a facebook page to try and procure the services of our players overseas.We all should play our part in helping our splendid isle get there. Common people we can do it. St Lucia can get to Russia in 2018...Oh Yes we can!!!. You read it from me first.

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        • I admire your enthusiasm. But you are wrong. Dead wrong. First off, USa, Mexico et al only take on friendlies with teams that can test them. That is NOT Saint Lucia at present.

          You draw reference to the TTO and JAM teams, all well and good, they had players operating at the highest level of club football. Saint Lucia's overseas contingent in our last fixture was two guys playing in TTO and one in Martinique. That's not winning any games against major nations, sorry. It won't even win against ANT, who recognised that their club football was not producing and went out to get at leasy nine overseas professionals, from the USA, UK and Europe. Having said that, we could still beat ANT with our current crew, but we would not go much further.

          And you should visit the Saint Lucia Football Association Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

          https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16170424169/

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  3. Aren't we fooling ourself trying to qualify for world cup? What have we done differently?Have we given the proper and full time training that is required to create an impact in this competition. Is substandard training from the age of 14 enough for such competition? Are we doing this just to say St Lucia participated? I really believe this crap with these Ministers year after year and I want these guys to prove me wrong.

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  4. The teams of the Caribbean needs to be placed in groups. At least 6 groups with the winner and seconder playing off each other. CONCACAF should then arrange for a final group of 6 teams with at least two qualifying for the World Cup finals.

    The rankings does not do it for me. You have St Lucia being placed next to teams like Burma and Afghanistan who have not played football for a long time.These teams are minnows. St Lucia is a much better football team than these mediocre teams. It's not that long ago Cape Verde was seen as non league and now she is playing in the current African Cup Of Nations. They play good soccer as most of their players ply their trade in Europe. I believe St Lucia can become a force to be reckoned with.

    St Lucia can become like them and even better. We have the players that can do it. We need to motivate them. We need to tell them that they can do it. If FIFA can allow the Caribbean to group like I mentioned then we can see one of our teams making it to Russia 2018. We can take on the big boys and give them a run for their money.I am hoping that St Lucia will go all the way like Haiti did in 1974, Like Cuba did in 1938, Trinidad in 2006 and Jamaica in 1998. How about St Lucia in 2018? It can be done. Let's do it St Lucia.

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    • Saint Lucia played in a group with ANT, TTO and DOM and finished last. Lost to MQE and JAM in warm up matches, too.

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      • Will you stop dwelling on the past? What do you have against our national team? You are full of doom and gloom. St Lucia lost so what. Why don't you write about our many winnings. St Lucia is currently Windward island winners. They won the Championships. Your comment are so negative. You have not given our boys a chance. Stop going on about the games we have lost. All teams have lost games.

        Look at how Brazil was beaten so badly in last year's WCF in Brazil. Yes Germany thrashed them 7-1 .. Will the Brazilians dwell on this? No they will not. They have picked themselves up and started all over again. Next time it could be Brazil beating Germany. St Lucia needs to do like Brazil. Pick themselves up and start all over again. Perish the negative thoughts and instill positive ones instead. St Lucia can go all the way to Russia 2018.. Oh Yes We can- Big Up Team St Lucia!!!! You can do it.

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        • I stated facts, Cock. I made no comments. And FYI, I wrote about Saint Lucia's successes at Windward Islands Championships last year, and about our U17 successes at home and in Haiti. But we lost in the U20 and were unable to beat Haiti and Cuba in U17. We were beaten by all the teams mentioned above in men's football. And don't ask for our women.

          Brazil's one-off loss will be examined, heck, it will be dissected by the Brazilian medai, football community, Government and people. It won't happen again any time soon, more than likely. Saint Lucia needs more than a positive spirit - we need to actually work towards attaining the goals we desire.

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  5. Our ranking is so low and the numbers in that rank in the Caribbean so high, we have to start early to qualify to meet the higher ranked European countries. Jamaica is ranked way above us yet they were humiliated by the French team 7-0 just before last World Cup.

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  6. That is really unfair to star playing World Cup Qualifying games way way before we could even start thinking about the actual World Cup in Russia. Why the Caribbean region? The qualifying stages of the WC in Europe and the rest of the world begins next year after the European Championships.Why is FIFA treating us differently? It's not fair to be playing qualifying games now.All games should be played around the same time as the European ones which begins in 2016.

    To top it off St Lucia have been drawn to play difficult opponents Antigua in June.I hope the national team can call on the services of their overseas players. They should be called upon to play for their country. St Lucia can make it to the World Cup in 2018. They have the players to help them. It's only a matter to harnessing their skills on a national level.Last time round Antigua beat Haiti. So why isn't Antigua given a bye like Haiti? We cannot afford to have teams from the bigger isles given preferential treatment.All teams should be placed in groups.

    Someone needs to put FIFA in its place. They keep treating the Caribbean teams like they are nothing. We want to be treated like everyone else.St Lucia needs a good team to go all the way. They need to start working on their PR now if they are going to make it. BIG UP TEAM ST LUCIA YOU CAN GO TO RUSSIA 2018!

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    • I would think the reason qualification for the Caribbean has started already is due to all the rounds that have to take place. its not straight forward as qualification for European teams.
      and the reason Jamaica and Haiti and the bigger countries come into later in the qualifying round is just due to their FIFA ranks.
      would it be fair for st lucia to play Jamaica straight off the bat...no it wont. we have to play those countries ranked close to us. then if st lucia makes it to the next round a bigger tougher opponent.

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