Cayman squad begins Nations League prep

Stephen Tatum (white) gets set to make a pass, with Jonah Ebanks defending him.

Some of the island’s best footballers shed their club jerseys for the national kit, as training got underway for the Cayman Islands participation in the CONCACAF Nations League qualifiers that begin later this year.

Around 30 players were on hand for the first training session at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on 1 May. The main focus for the first session was possession and moving on and off the ball.

Leading the charge is veteran coach, Elbert McLean. He told that he expects to put the players through “a lot of hard work” in the coming months before the opening match against Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz in September.

With the Cayman Islands Football Association President’s Cup still in swing, McLean has to strike a balance between keeping the unit together and allowing players to train with their domestic clubs. “For now, we’re training two days a week and as soon as the President’s Cup is finished, we’re going to step it up to five days per week.”

Andres Ruiz makes a play on the ball as Fabio Gall tries to stay with him.

On hand to witness the first session was CIFA President Alfredo Whittaker. “It’s a great satisfaction to come and see our senior national team in action; to see the joy, the happiness, the hope on the faces of this new crop of players. It’s really great to have a national team and really looking forward to great things.”

The Cayman Islands will play four matches between September and March next year. After playing away to Jamaica, Cayman travels to the Dominican Republic in October and hosts St Lucia in November. The final game of this round will be against Montserrat at home in March.

The final dates of the games have not been released but CONCACAF officials confirm they will be played in the FIFA international match windows.

Despite a very tough opening opponent, McLean is optimistic about the team’s performance. “I have no doubt in myself that we can get a good result. It’s all about the preparation,” he said, adding that he is planning team-building activities away from the training pitch to get the players on the same page.

Academy teammates Jonah Ebanks (red) and Finigan Huffington scrimage against each other.

Training squad includes: Joshewa Frederick,  Jermaine Wilson – Academy SC, Mark Ebanks – Academy SC, Rohan Williams – Academy SC, Finigan Huffington – Academy SC, Fabio Gall – Academy SC, Jonah Ebanks – Academy SC, Romario Dixon – Academy SC, Ramon Sealy – Bodden Town FC, Theron Wood – Bodden Town FC, Karl Solomon – Bodden Town FC, Tevon Levien – Bodden Town FC, Andre McFarlane – Bodden Town FC, Charlo McLean – Bodden Town FC, Jahmelie Durrant – Bodden Town FC, Olin Monteith – Bodden Town FC, Kareem James – Bodden Town FC, Ricoh Brown – Bodden Town FC, Kyle Santamaria – Bodden Town FC, Jordan McLean – Cayman Athletic SC, Albertini Holness – Cayman Athletic SC, Jorronie McLean – Cayman Athletic SC, Akito Lewis – Cayman Brac FC, Thomas Jackson – Cayman Brac FC, Wesley Robinson – Elite SC, Jameal Welcome – Elite SC, Shane Ebanks – Elite SC, Christopher Reeves – Elite SC, Courtney Duval – Future SC, Tevin Yen – Future SC, Michael Johnson – Future SC, Denver Barnes – Future SC, Andres Ruiz – George Town SC, Nahun Rodriguez – Latinos FC, Shakur Welcome – Roma USC, Rodrick Pearson – Scholars ISC, Brandon Ebanks – Scholars ISC, Stephen Tatum – Sunset FC.

McLean is joined by assistant coaches Gonzalo McLaughlin and Rohan Lewis, with Ricky Sealy as the goalkeepers’ coach. The team manager is Kennedy Ebanks and the assistant manager is Charlene McLean.


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