AMSTERDAM, Netherlands– Of the many impressive performances from Matchday One of 2019/20 Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, one that stood out in particular was Aruba’s 3-1 victory over Bermuda.
Having not played a match in three years, many did not know what to expect from Aruba. Yet after 90 minutes of action, it was plain to see that Aruba will be a formidable foe the rest of the way in the CNL.
“It was a very nice win, after three years of no games we had a good, long preparation and we’re feeling great,” said Aruba MF and team captain Raymond Baten in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
Baten was also quick to praise the effort of MF Joshua John, a former Dutch youth international who plays his club football with Bursaspor in Turkey and who also made his Aruba debut against Bermuda.
“To be honest I was a bit surprised with how well the preparation went. We have young players, new players. I think Josh John played a key role for us. We did not allow Bermuda to create so I think tactically we were prepared,” added Baten.
At present, Aruba sits in 11thplace in the 34-team table, just one spot out of qualifying for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. While Baten acknowledges that a first ever Gold Cup would be a great accomplishment for Aruba, the 29-year-old veteran is wisely preaching a one-game-at-a-time approach.
“Qualifying for the Gold Cup would be making history, but we are not thinking about that right now. We are going game to game. The most important thing is that we continue to improve,” said Baten.
Like many experienced players around the Concacaf region, Baten is happy with the Nations League initiative undertaken by Concacaf and hopes that it benefits not just future generations of Aruba players but all players from island nations.
“I think the Nations League is a fantastic step for Concacaf. It means everyone is improving their organizations, improving facilities. It means more games for players. This will help the development of Caribbean football and helps to make the region better,” concluded Baten.