How will Team Saint Lucia line up this Friday against Antigua and Barbuda as they kick off their FIFA Nations League campaign at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in St. John’s? What formation will they go with? Who will start in goal? Who will be captain?
By and large, the Saint Lucia team is a relatively young one. Most of these players have just a handful of caps under their belts, and it’s fair to say that they have almost certainly never all played together. Travelling with a squad of just 16 (it’s normal for a tavelling unit to include up to 23 players) there is not a ton of leeway for the new national coach.
Four of the players are from Uptown Rebels in Vieux Fort (though not all four are FROM Vieux Fort). Nine ply their trade at the collegiate, semi-pro, or professional level in Trinidad and Tobago, Honduras, the USA, Croatia, and England. Ten of the 16 are under the age of 25, and only one is over 27.
But let us have a look at the possible lineup. We will assume that they will play a 4-4-2, though the team includes several players who can float between positions.
One of the most interesting decisions will be in goal, where 37-year-old Giovanni Deterville of Northern United will hope to keep out 22-year-old Leon Alexander of Vieux Fort South and Uptown Rebels.
Kurt Frederick is likely to lead the side from the back. A clever left back, he is exceedingly capable of linking up in attack, and has done so to good effect for the national team, as well as W Connection FC in Trinidad and Tobago, and Liga Deportiva Alajuelense in Costa Rica.
Virtually mirroring him on the other side could be fellow 27-year-old Pernal William. Pernal has enjoyed great success for Aiglon du Lamentin in Martinique.
Youth must be served in the centre of the back four. The options include three players under the age of 23, including two Trinidad and Tobago-based players: 20-year-old Melvin ‘Baby Boy’ Doxilly of Caledonia or 21-year-old Otev Lawrence of W Connection. The third is Alvinus Myers of Uptown Rebels, aged 22.
The other choice in defense is Melanius Mullarkey, 26, who plays with Hayes & Yeading in England.
In midfield, Pernal can play, as can 22-year-old Gregson President of Platinum FC, though both spend much of their time in defense. But the highly anticiapted return of 24-year-old NK Novigrad (Croatia) defensive midfielder Zaine Pierre to the Saint Lucia squad should also see him included in the first XI, behind 27-year-old Tremain Shayn Paul of Micoud and Uptown Rebels.
Out wide, we may witness 25-year-old Caledonia (TTO) speedster Lester Joseph on the right, perhaps opposite 23-year-old Vida La Ceiba (Honduras) winger Shervon Malik St. Prix, who has also played in the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League. Soufriere’s Zachernus Simon, aged 20, joins the national team from USC Aiken (USA).
Up front, even if St. Prix is pushed up, at least one of two home-based players will feature: Jervic McFarlane, 21, of Vieux Fort South and Uptown Rebels, or Andrus Remy, who is his early twenties, and plays for Marchand and B1 FC.
Last time Saint Lucia met Antigua and Barrbuda, there was an injury-riddled, card-filled, ejection-marred embarrassment, and even then, the home team had to depend on a flurry of late goals to beat Saint Lucia. Will Saint Lucia be able to get vengeance? Only time will tell.
TEAM SAINT LUCIA:
Giovanni Deterville – 37, Northern United, GK
Leon Alexander – 22, VF South / Uptown Rebels, GK
Melanius Mullarkey – 26, Hayes & Yeading, D
Kurt Frederick – 27, W Connection, LB
Pernal William – 27, Aiglon du Lamentin, RB
Melvin Doxilly – 20, Caledonia, CB
Otev Lawrence – 21, W Connection, D
Alvinus Myers – 22, VF South / Uptown Rebels, CB
Zachernus Simon – 20, USC Aiken, M
Gregson President – 22, VF South / Platinum FC, D / M
Tremain Shayn Paul – 27, Micoud / Uptown Rebels, AM
Zaine Kareem Pierre – 24, NK Novigrad, DM
Lester Joseph – 25, Caledonia, RM
Shervon Malik St. Prix – 23, Vida La Ceiba, CM / F
Jervic McFarlane – 21, VF South / / Uptown Rebels, F
Andrus Remy – 23?, Marchand / B1 FC, F