[WORLD CUP 2014 COUNTDOWN] Longshot Antigua & Barbuda, the USA's first opponent in World Cup 2014 qualifying, begins its preparations with a friendly against Trinidad & Tobago’s Soca Warriors Wednesday at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds in St. John's. The Benna Boys have brought in five players from England, including Nottingham Forest's Dexter Blackstock, and could bring more but are careful of maintaining a proper balance between domestic-based players and imports. To get the English-based players back home, Wednesday's kickoff has been moved up so they can get on a plane to London the same night.
National team manager coach Tom Curtis could have brought in other players from England but he does not want to upset the apple cart.
“Mikele Leightwood did not come," national team manager Fernando Abraham told the Antigua Observer. "Mark Joseph did not come, and there are others that we are looking at. But at the same time, we are not going to just go crazy and bring 20 overseas players here. So we have to know what we are doing and do it properly and coach Curtis knows exactly what he wants at a given time and he will do that."
The nucleus of the squad consists of 12 players from USL PRO's Antigua Barracuda FC.
Following Wednesday's game, the domestic-based players will head to St. Kitts & Nevis for a game on Saturday.
Antigua & Barbuda Roster:
Goalkeepers:Molvin James (Antigua Barracuda FC), Keita DeCastro (Antigua Barracuda FC).
Defenders:Anton Blackwood (St. Albans City), Marvin McCoy (Wycombe Wanderers), George Dublin (Antigua Barracuda FC), Akeem Thomas (Antigua Barracuda FC), Karanjah Mack (Antigua Barracuda FC), Dave Carr (Antigua Barracuda FC).
Midfielders:Justin Cochrane (Boreham Wood), Keiran Murtagh (Cambridge United), Lawson Robinson (Antigua Barracuda FC), Kimoi Alexander (Antigua Barracuda FC), Quinton Griffith (Antigua Barracuda FC), Eugene Kirwan (Hoppers FC).
Strikers: Dexter Blackstock (Nottingham Forest), Kerry Skepple (All Saints United), Peter Byers (Los Angeles Blues), Stephan Smith (Antigua Barracuda FC), Ranjae Christian (Antigua Barracuda FC), Gason Gregory (Antigua Barracuda FC).