U20 footballers benefit from Cuba training camp

The Cayman Islands national U20 training squad is upbeat ahead of the CONCACAF U20 Championship in November. Many of the players, including some based overseas, had the opportunity to take part in a one-week training camp in Cuba at the end of summer.

In addition to training sessions, the Cayman team played friendlies against the Cuban national side. “I think that the Cuba experience was a very vital opportunity for us because it allowed us to experience what was going on with another team and to see where they were at in terms of skill,” said central defender Eric Wilson.

Players cool down after a session.

Goalkeeper Albertini Holness summed up the experience gleaned on Cuban soil. “It was a good experience playing against one of the top teams in the Caribbean,” he said. “Although we lost 3-0 in the last game, it was basically mistakes that we gave up, so if we could correct them, we could actually compete with teams like Cuba and those top teams.”

Jabari Campbell, an 18-year-old right back, was another of the players on the trip. “It was very intense and we learned a lot from the Cuban national team. Coach [Ernie] Gillie [Seymour] also taught us that losing equals learning, so we just have to learn from our mistakes and correct them ourselves. The training camp was for us to improve individually and collectively.”

The players had early morning training sessions on non-match days.

The tough outings there should help with the Cayman Islands now drawn in group play for the 1-21 November tournament with El Salvador, Guatemala, Curacao, and Guyana. The winner of the group advances to the knock out round.

Holness said he was excited to get out there an represent the islands, adding “playing with your national team…you play with more heart.”

The squad continues to train several times a week under the guidance of Head Coach Ernie ‘Gillie’ Seymour and assistants Lee Ramoon and Collin ‘Dougie’ Rowe.

Although the players are pumped to play for their country, CaymanSportsBuzz.com understands that some are having issues to secure time off from their employers to participate in the tournament. Seymour said he hoped those entities with players on the team will recognise the importance of having them represent the Cayman Islands and grant them the time.

The final team to compete at the tournament being played at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida has not been selected as yet.

The Cayman Islands plays their first Group G game against 6th ranked El Salvador on Sunday, 4 November. They return to action on Tuesday, 6 November vs 24th ranked Guyana. Two days later, Cayman faces 8th ranked Guatemala and then 16th ranked Curacao on Saturday 10 November.


You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.