Digicel Caribbean Cup New York Heats Up As Teams Prepare For Semi-Finals

With the Digicel Caribbean Cup semi-finals only two days away, the four remaining teams – Jamaica, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Kitts & Nevis – are gearing up for what is sure to be an exciting afternoon of football.

The coaches of all four teams today took time out from their busy training schedule to speak exclusively to www.digicelfootball.com about their performances so far in the tournament and how they are preparing for this weekend’s matches.

Jamaican coach, Arthur Mikes, said; “Preparations are going well so far – we practiced yesterday afternoon and we have another session tomorrow, so the team is in good shape for the game. I have been watching Barbados throughout the season and they’re a pretty quick, fast team, but technically they are not so sound – so we know what we have to do in terms of our approach. We have a game plan which is to slow down the game and play it in our style – a soft, slow, entertaining and attacking game.

“The players are proud to have got this far again in the tournament, and to have set the standards so high in terms of the number of games won this season – and over the last eight years. They are well experienced players so they don’t let the pressure to win affect them – they are mentally prepared to approach the game.”

Barbados Coach, Kenton Browne, says his team are ready to face the five-time champions. “Preparations are going very well; everyone has been at practice and is feeling positive ahead of Sunday’s match. We have a few niggling injuries but hopefully everyone will be ready by Sunday.

“I’ve looked at Jamaica play a few times and from what I’ve seen I’ve more or less pinpointed where their strengths and weaknesses are. Ultimately, we will try to stick as close as possible to our game plan – and play out their weaknesses. We know they are five-time champions and current defending champions – but we’re not going to let that intimidate us.”

Manager for St. Lucia, Martin Daniel, says his team are hungry for a place in this year’s final and are ready for victory. “Last year we came third in the tournament – but this year we are hungry for victory. We have gone through an extensive training programme with former-National coach for St. Lucia, Stuart Charles, on board to help prepare the boys. 

“We’ve learned a lot from last year – we’ve improved on our shortfalls which were mainly in our defence. This year, we have been very tight on conceding goals – we’ve only lost one game and we drew 0-0 against Jamaica and 1-1 against Haiti – two of the strongest teams in the tournament.

“We’ve been watching the St. Kitts & Nevis team and we don’t underestimate them – they are an active and youthful side but we have the players to match them and we are confident we’ll come out victorious. Neither of us has won before, so we are both hungry for the title. However, we have grown our fan base enormously over the last few years and we want nothing less than a win for our loyal supporters.

St. Kitts & Nevis coach, Larry John, said; “We’ve had a few injuries and a few of my younger players have gone back to school so we’ve had to make a few adjustments but we remain confident that we will win this Sunday. We’ve been in the league for a number of years and have played St. Lucia a number of times so we know what to expect.

“In sport, any team can win on any given day. On Sunday it is going to be quite hot – and this can interfere with the boy’s mental attitude. Ultimately, what it boils down to is how my boys execute the game plan that we have prepared for – I only expect them to give 100% and play the best they can. St. Lucia have worked hard to get to this stage too, but at the end of the day we’ll be the team going onto the final.”

The matches kick-off at 3.30pm (central) when St. Lucia take on St. Kitts & Nevis, followed by Jamaica versus Barbados at 5.30pm (central).

This is the second year of a three-year sponsorship agreement with Digicel which provides much-needed funds to stage the weekly rounds of the tournament, as well as marketing support and investment in player development.

The tournament is in its 19th year and features 12 representative teams from the Caribbean and South America. The Digicel Caribbean Cup New York began on May 30th in Jefferson High School, 12508 Flatlands Ave, Brooklyn, New York and 15 weeks of exciting Sunday afternoon football will take place culminating in the grand final on Sunday, September 5th.

Digicel currently offers a range of innovative products and services to Caribbean and Central American nationals living in the Diaspora, including online top up – where customers can log on to any Digicel website and top up or send minutes to people back home; retail top up – where customers can go into any one of over 100,000 retail stores in the UK, Canada, the Caribbean and the USA and purchase Digicel top up or send Digicel minutes to friends and relatives in their home country; and Digicel calling cards – where customers calling friends and family in Haiti and Jamaica can call home at competitive rates using minutes stored on the calling card.