26th March 2016
Caribbean Cup Qualifier, First Round
Raymond E. Guishard Technical Centre, The Valley, Anguilla
Anguilla 0-4 Puerto Rico
Anguilla’s second and final Caribbean Cup qualifier saw the team taking on Puerto Rico in the home environs of The Valley in Anguilla. Technically, a win by seven or more would have kept Anguilla in with a chance of progressing to the next round. In reality, it was a final attempt for the time being to record a positive result for the first time in nearly five years.
But from the moment Juan Coca gave Puerto Rico the lead in the 16th minute, the writing was on the wall. And yet Anguilla fought bravely and contested rather better than they had in Guyana a few days earlier. However, any slant hopes of a revival were effectively snuffed out when Jorge Rivera made it 2-0 shortly before half-time.
Coca added a third not long after the break before Olvin Ortiz rounded off the 4-0 victory midway through the second period.
That Anguilla held out for lengthy spells is some source of comfort, though it must be acknowledged that with the win secure, Puerto Rico were already assured of qualification to the next stage along with Guyana. When those two meet later this week it will be simply to decide top spot, with both now qualified for the second round.
For Anguilla, the lengthy losing spell now stretches back for 13 consecutive defeats – though one of those was against the non-FIFA “nation” of French Guiana. That string of misfortune dates back to June 2011, almost five years, since a 1-1 draw with the US Virgin Islands.
With the Caribbean Cup done and dusted for another couple of years the immediate future looks beak in terms of opportunity to reverse the trend. It is a squad and team very much is development, and so it is to be hoped that with some additional time for training, and perhaps even recruitment, the team can develop and have the opportunity to test themselves in a locally arranged friendly before too many more months or years elapse.
But these latest results assure Anguilla will remain rooted to the foot of the world rankings for the foreseeable future.