BVI Men’s National Team coach, Chris Kiwomya, is prepared for a tough battle against Puerto Rico and wants the local community to get behind the team when the pair meet in the CONCACAF Nations League on March 23rd
The game will be played at the A.O. Shirley Ground in Road Town, with a 3pm kick off and is the final game in this seasons Nation League, with the BVI’s last home game a 1-1 draw with the Cayman Islands. That result was repeated in the reverse fixture and then the BVI went to Puerto Rico, where they suffered a 0-6 defeat.
This time around Kiwomya hopes that the gap will have been reduced but acknowledges that the opponents are mainly made up of professional players “It’s going to be a difficult game, obviously” he commented “Puerto Rico are a very talented team with strong players in all areas on the pitch, but we have been working hard and recently held a training camp in Florida, which was excellent, a really good motivation for the players and where I got to see a lot of the players for the first time in a long time. We spoke about how we wanted to approach the game and the players took it on board. We’ve got some good young players in the Under 20s and Under 17’s who are coming forward so hopefully I will be able to try and give them opportunities in the national team when the time is right. We’ll be looking for the support of the BVI fans and all the people in the Territory to come and support the team. They got right behind the team when we played the Cayman’s, and they created a really wonderful atmosphere.”
Kiwomya also explained that vociferous home support will help the team play even better and that the players did the BVI proud, which they will do again when Puerto Rico come to town. “they are 39 places ahead of us in the FIFA Rankings and are a team full of professionals who will be technically better than us, but they wont have bigger hearts than us and if we have more legs than them on the day, with a large crowd behind us, being our 12th man, then when they come to our place we can show that the gap between us is shrinking, so lets get a big a crowd as possible there and I look forward to seeing everyone on the day and doing our best to make you proud”
Kiwomya’s sentiments on the difference a home crowd can make were echoed first by forward, Tyler Forbes, who has been through a lot in a short senior career “this is a whole new game, a whole new team, and a new system , so I think it’s very important that we’re not undermined. There is a lot of people I know who are coming from the UK and from all over to watch the game. My mum’s going to come watch the game, and I feel like we deserve that crowd, like when we played Cayman, to come down again, and you know when I was on the pitch and I felt like I couldn’t run that extra 10 yards, the crowd cheering us on made me know that I can run another 10 yards or even more. So, I feel like that’s a big part of the game and we need that excitement and level of support”.
Troy Caesar who missed the game against Puerto Rico, but featured in the home game against Cayman after a long period of unavailability and is now Captain of the team also hopes for a large crowd at the A.O. Shirley “The crowd, the community, the whole of the British Virgin Islands, my co-workers, everyone plays a big part. They are our 12th man on the field, they bring that energy, they bring the spirit and we need to get that support, because we all know that it’s going to be a tough and competitive game. The energy we get from that crowd, gives us a lift and keeps us going for 90 minutes”
Tickets are now on sale and available from the BVI Office in East End / Long Look as well as the CCT main office across from the Fire Station,
They cost just $10 for adults and $5 for children aged 5-12