Battle-tested Saint Kitts and Nevis primed for Nations League
Santo´s Carlos Izquierdos (left) in action against Julani Archibal of WConnection FC (TRI), Corresponding of the group -A- in Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League 2015/16 at Corona Stadium, Mexico.
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MARABELLA, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO - There are few teams who have gone to the strenuous lengths of preparing for 2019/20 CONCACAF Nations League Qualifying than Saint Kitts and Nevis.

In the last 22 months, the Sugar Boyz have played eight friendlies against opponents from all over the world: Armenia, Georgia, India, Mauritius, Barbados, Grenada, Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

The island nation also achieved its highest-ever FIFA ranking, rising to 80th in 2016.

Led by Head Coach Jacques Passy, a battle-tested Saint Kitts and Nevis is ready to take on all comers in the CNL come September. 

"All those friendlies helped the team in a big way, especially in the FIFA ranking where we went to our highest ranking ever," said Saint Kitts and Nevis GK Julani Archibald in an exclusive interview with CONCACAF.com.

"Jacques has had huge influence since he took over. He demands things and he had us playing during the majority of the FIFA window, so I would say that he has had a huge influence on the team," added Archibald.

Even though they were defeated 3-1 in their last international friendly against Jamaica on April 26, the Sugar Boyz took away a lot of positives from the match.

And there is a growing belief that after playing the 2015 and 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup finalists so close on their home turf, Saint Kitts and Nevis are poised to qualify for a first ever Gold Cup with a top 10 finish in the CNL.

"It would mean so much to our country because we have never qualified for the competition. It would be a huge accomplishment if the country can make it to the Gold Cup. The last time we came up short; this time we are looking to go all the way," said the W Connection goalkeeper.

Standing in the way of Saint Kitts and Nevis' Gold Cup objective are Puerto Rico (September 9), Saint Martin (October 14), Canada (November 18) and Suriname (March 23).

Archibald is confident that if their confidence and focus remain intact, Saint Kitts and Nevis can make history.

"We have some good opponents to face, but once we have the right focus and mindset, I feel with the group of players we have we can challenge anybody on the day of the game," concluded Archibald.