Like other national and club squads in the country, The Bahamas’ Junkanoo Boys, as they are called, have had to train under immense circumstances due to the restrictions brought on by the presence of the COVID 19 pandemic.
In March 2020, when lockdowns and shutdowns were instituted, the squad was coming off its first round matches of the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Nations League, finishing with a 3-1 win/loss record and advancing to the next round of play.
After a six-month layoff, the team got special permission from the Competent Authority on the advice of Ministry of Health officials to resume training under strict guidelines and safety measures. Advanced training would have only been permitted if there were no reported cases of COVID-19 and if the agreed protocols were followed. Thankfully, there was no outbreak of COVID-19 during the sessions.
Fast forward to today. Under the guidance of Team Bahamas Head Coach Nesley Jean and his management team, the squad returned from Bradenton Florida, on Monday, March 8, where they competed in two FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) approved friendly matches against Bermuda.
The games were very competitive as both coaches, Nesley Jean and Kyle Lightbourne, sought to identify and select the best players available to take into their qualifying matches.
Under rigorous COVID-19 testing protocols, the team lost the first match 3-0 with Coach Jean making quite a number of substitutions in order to view all of the players in a competitive environment. In the second match, the game ended in a scoreless draw. Team Bahamas squandered quite a number of chances to score and record a win.
Chosen to represent The Bahamas against St. Kitts & Nevis are: Dylan Pritchard, Troy Pinder, Marcel Joseph, Evelt Julmis, Terry Delancy, Peter Julmis, Happy Hall, Ian Lowe, Lesly St. Fleur, Cameron Hepple, Michael Butler, Isiah Collie, Logan Russell, Alexander Thompson, Elijah Mitchell, Valentino Hanna, Ambry Moss, Jean Francois, Jacob Charles and Nicholas Lopez.
The squad had to undergo the Bahamas government’s mandatory five-day testing protocols, and every member received a negative result – validating the protocols put in place by FIFA, the Bahamas Football Association (BFA) and The Bahamas Ministry of Health.
The match against St. Kitts & Nevis will be played in an empty stadium so as to conform to health and safety standards and prevent the spread of the virus.
Forward Harrison Panayiotou has been called up by the Saint Kitts and Nevis national team ahead of their upcoming World Cup Qualifiers.
Harrison, who has been capped 25 times previously by his national side, will depart for international duty on the 21st March, taking on Puerto Rico at home on the 25th before playing away to the Bahamas on the 28th.
In doing so, Harrison will unfortunately miss our games against Chesterfield at home (23rd March), Solihull Moors away (27th March) and potentially Notts County at home on the 30th March.