The BVI Football Association men’s national team is in a very positive mood after their performance in the CONCACAF National League qualifying games in April, showing great improvement overall. A new revised format of the men’s National Team with the addition of assistant coach Dan Mitchell and performance coach Mark Hooks, brainstormed by President Andrew Bickerton after his return to the helm a few years ago, has seen the team grow in dedication, professionalism and consistency.
The National men came up against Turks & Caicos and Bonaire a team who defeated them 2-0 back in June of 2014. In their first game against Turks and Caicos the BVI men played brilliantly ending the first half scoreless. Then in the second half a well thought out and rehearsed set play saw the #2 defender Joshua Bertie make an amazing cross to the right side of the goal and find the head of captain Troy Caesar who made no mistake in finding the back of the net in the 64th minute of play for a 1-0 lead to the BVI. With the team on a high the BVI boys kept the pressure on and Jerry Wiltshire was able to score from another set play in the 83rd minute of play to put the BVI 2-0 ahead. In the words of head coach John Reilly, “ The lads being two goals ahead became complacent and we suffered from what I calls ‘the ball going dead’ and allowed the #10 striker Billy Forbes to score three minutes later in the 83rd minute.
With the players seemingly a bit deflated after the goal the Turks catching the BVI with their guard down answered back again one minute later in the 87th minute to tie the score at 2-2 as Fred Borvil , who had just been substituted into the game in the 80th minute finding the back of the net to save his side from defeat.Three days later the BVI boys were at it again against Bonaire and with only 7 minutes gone into the game the talented Bonaire striker Jermaine Windster found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead to the visitors. The BVI played well for the rest of the first half and in fact were able to equalize from another excellent set play which say Jamie Wilson score in the 64th minute of play. Yet again the BVI team suffered from being ‘ball dead’ when they failed to keep the ball possession from the opposition and the veteran Jermaine Windster did what he has done so many times in the past for Bonaire scoring the winning goal with literally seconds left on the clock for a 2-1 victory.
Head Coach John Reilly stated he was very pleased with the overall performance of his team despite the goal explaining that this present BVI National team is easily the most professionally run squad he has ever worked with. He said training with the young men is an exceptional experience because of their discipline and dedication to the game. The team coach Reilly states has done an excellent job transferring what they have practiced in training onto the field of play.
The BVI team who have drawn the Bahamas and Bonaire again in the group B of the CONCACAF National League in September will go into the group as high favorites to win due to their recent performance. Despite losing to Bonaire recently the BVI actually out played them in most of the other facets of the game and now await in great anticipation the rematch with Bonaire. When asked what would be different in the rematch with Bonaire coach Reilly said,” Never underestimate any team and stick to the fundamentals. We must understand that Bonaire was named the best defensive team in our region, so we can’t take them lightly, no matter how well we are playing.”
The recent starting line up for the BVI team comprised of Ben Chapman goalkeeper, Joshua Bertie defender, James Drury defender, Carlos Septus defender, Jerry Wiltshire defender, Troy Caesar midfield (Captain), Robbie Green Midfield, Kristian Javier Midfield, Jamie Wilson Midfield, Trevor Peters Striker with substitutes Liam Blok, Andrew Ross, Christopher Pease, Tyler Forbes along with Coach John Reilly.