Bodden Town FC off to Caribbean Club Shield

Bodden Town FC on their way to the 2018 CONCACAF Caribbean Club Shield. (Courtesy BTFC)

Bodden Town FC, last season’s double champions, have headed to the Dominican Republic for the 13-21 April CONCACAF Caribbean Club Shield, where they will play against other top amateur clubs from across the region.

The club is eager to show that their seventh-place finish in the just ended CIFA Premier League 2017/18 season is a mirage and that they’re more akin to the side that dominated the domestic competition in the previous campaign to win the league and FA Cup titles.

“We have a good, competitive side. Although that might not have been reflected this season, I believe we have gotten over the problems that we’ve had earlier in the season,” said captain and first choice keeper, Ramon Sealy.

Sealy is confident his team has what it takes to be competitive.

Unlike prior editions of the regional championship, the format has been changed to place 12 amateur clubs that won their national titles last season to compete against each other. The winner of the Caribbean Club Shield then has the chance to qualify for the Scotiabank CONCACAF League featuring larger clubs from across North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Bodden Town FC has been pooled to face Cayon FC of St Kitts and Nevis, RKSV Centro Dominguito of Curacao, and Martinique’s Franciscain in the group stage. The winners of the three pools, plus the best second placed finisher advance to the semi-finals.

“The team, in general, has high expectations,” said winger Tevon Levien, who has been one of Bodden Town’s most consistent performers this season. “For us competing with other amateur teams, it gives us an incentive for us to play hard and give our everything.”

In addition to previous editions of the tournament, Bodden Town FC will also look to draw on the experience gained from playing in the 2014 Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) President’s Cup in New Zealand.

“We’re looking to go down there and excel. If we go out there and play our game, we could win. We have a lot of international exposure playing abroad against New Zealand teams and from Tahiti, so I think my team can be good playing abroad,” said Kareem James, one of those still on the squad from that historic trip.

Coach Elbert McLean had been putting the players through a grueling regime of fitness training to ensure they can be up for the task in the Dominican Republic.

“I’m focusing on mental, physical and spiritual,” he told on the sidelines of a recent training session at the Haig Bodden Sports Complex. “You came here tonight and you see the effort the guys put in. I know if we keep this sort of mentality and attitude, we will get good results.”

Aside from that, he hopes other bonding exercises, including having the players over to his house for fish tea will keep them focused on the task as a unit and deliver on the pitch against some of the Caribbean’s other top clubs.

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