Team Bahamas fell short of its goal of qualifying for the first edition of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) World Beach Games, which is set for October 12-16, in Doha, Qatar, but collectively, the men’s and women’s squads might have turned in the country’s best ever performance in beach soccer.
The women might have finished winless in three games, but they were playing in The Bahamas’ first ever matches in beach soccer on the women’s side. Still, they had spirited performances against three giants in the sport.
Regardless of the results, it would be a history-making moment on the women’s side, as this is the first time that a Bahamian national beach soccer squad was assembled in that gender. They fell 6-3 to host nation El Salvador in front of about 5,000 fans in their first game of the mini tournament, lost to Mexico 7-2 in their second game of the tournament, and then dropped a 7-1 decision to the United States in their third and final game. Against El Salvador, the match was tied 2-2 at the end of the first third, Team Bahamas fell behind, 5-2, at the end of the second third, and El Salvador went on to win, 6-3. Against Mexico, the match was tied 2-2 at the end of the first third, Team Bahamas once again fell behind 5-2 at the end of the second third, and Mexico went on to win, 7-2. Team Bahamas was down 7-0 to the United States before Team Captain Karen Wert broke through and scored a goal for the country.
“This is the first women’s team that we have put together and this was their first ever tournament, so we’re very satisfied with what they were able to give us,” said McDowall. “We didn’t have much time to train but the opening game against El Salvador was absolutely fantastic. The second game was also a good performance by them. Against the U.S., they were just overpowered. A lot of the U.S. players play in Europe and in leagues so we knew that we would have a little bit of trouble but our captain managed to score a goal at the end which was fantastic for the women. Both teams exceeded expectations and it is our intention for both programs to continue to grow. I just want to thank our president Anton Sealey (BFA President) and the BFA for allowing us to participate. Also, thanks to the players, the Head Coach Luis Escobar, the assistant Wilson DaCosta and the physiotherapist Eugena Patton for a job well done.”
The teams arrive home this afternoon, and according to McDowall, will take about a week off before getting right back to training. The men will play in an invitational tournament in China in early September.