First exhibition match in World Cup history
At the FIFA Beach Soccer World
Cup The Bahamas has made history in more ways than one.
Not only is the World Cup being hosted in the Caribbean for the first time ever, The Bahamas is also the first Caribbean to win a game in the history of the competition. If that wasn’t enough, The Bahamas team, which ended its World Cup bid prematurely last week, will be the first country to play in an exhibition game at the biennial tournament.
Team Bahamas will face a FIFA Beach Soccer All-Star team on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the National Beach Soccer Arena at Malcolm Park.
FIFA Board Member Joan Cusco said the Bahamian people want to see the Rake N’ Scrape boys one more time. He added that it’s already billed to be one of the most exciting games of the tournament.
“This is the first time we have ever done this,” Cusco said. “We had to send a communication to FIFA headquarters in Switzerland for approval. It was approved today. They blessed the idea and they support it.
It’s a unique story. We were so excited about the experience of having The Bahamas in the tournament and the exciting crowd engagement. When they were out of the competition we wanted to offer the community an opportunity to cheer for them and provide an opportunity for the players to play again.“This is an exception for FIFA World Cup.”
The all-star team will consist of players from various countries and will be coached by China’s Head Coach Ross Ongaro.
Bahamas team captain Gavin Christie said the team is honored by the opportunity to play one final time in front of the home crowd.
“It means a lot to us but it means even more to our fans,” Christie said.
“Everyone is asking us if we’re playing again and can we play again. We’ve been in popular demand. They want more, so we’re going to give them more. We have one final game left this Saturday. It’s pretty much for the fans. This is the team’s way of giving back to the fans.
“It’s going to be a fun game against an all-star beach soccer team. We want everyone to come out and support us.”
Christie said the fact that they’ll be making history is the icing on the cake. “That is what The Bahamas is about,” he added. We like to make history. Our first win against Ecuador was history so why not continue the trend. It’s a great thing and maybe something that FIFA will continue for the World Cup.
Bahamian starter Lesly St. Fluer said the team’s only goal is to make The Bahamas proud.
“That means we have to win,” he said. St. Fleur also called for Bahamians to support the team.
Saturday is also the semi-final round of the tournament. Spectators are encouraged to come out early to watch the high-energy games and stay to support Team Bahamas. The exciting final round takes place on Sunday.
Gates open at 2pm. General Admission is free. VIP tickets are available for purchase.