MIAMI.- While Anguilla is one of the smallest and least populated countries in the Concacaf region, and though a tiny player pool makes the road a bit tough, world football has learned recently that you can’t write off anyone.
From Iceland’s successes in Europe and at the World Cup to Montserrat right here in Concacaf, there is evidence that just about any team can achieve great things. For Anguilla, having seen how successful their neighbors Montserrat have become, the question is how to replicate that success for themselves.
In their qualifying campaign, they took losses to Nicaragua and French Guiana, and endured a frustrating start in a 3-0 loss on home turf. In between the defeats, however, they earned their only point in a 1-1 draw away to the Bahamas, having led 1-0 at halftime courtesy of Glenville Rogers. They also managed a 2-1 victory over Saint Martin in a friendly in March, so there are plenty of positives.
Placed into a tricky Group C with favorites Guatemala will not make the road to League B any easier, but Anguilla do have some things going for them. Most notably, captain, veteran, leader, and all-time most-capped goalkeeper Ryan Liddie has made a lot of fantastic saves in his time, and will be of immense importance against a team like Puerto Rico, who like to probe from long-range. The aforementioned Rogers is the biggest scoring threat; he will likely be deployed up front by himself.
With four matches to be played against very steep competition, Anguilla will be getting a lot out of this experience no matter how the results may fall.