Henry Duarte “Nicaragua’s goal is to qualify for the 2019 Gold Cup”
Photo: Defender Luis Fernando Copete (left) and midfielder Juan Barrera train with the Nicaraguan national team before the first Concacaf Nations League match versus Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Photo Leonel Rodriguez / Liga Primera )

MANAGUA, Nicaragua.-  After having played in the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup, Nicaragua does not want to miss out on the 2019 edition and will look to take the first step toward that on September 8 when they visit Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for the start of 2019/20 Concacaf Nations League Qualifying.

For manager Henry Duarte, the CNL is a tournament that will measure the growth of the Nicaraguan national team in the last several years. In a recent interview, the 59-year-old Costa Rican coach who’s been at the head of Nicaragua since 2014 stated that his team has great aspirations.

“Our plan is to qualify for the Nations League and be among the powers of Concacaf. We are going to fight to get the very best results, so that we’ll be there in June. Being in League A, we start off practically qualified for the Gold Cup,” explained Duarte.

With respect to Friday’s opponent, Duarte said that he’s been working hard on analyzing it.

“We have observed a couple Saint Vincent and Grenadines matches, it’s a strong team, powerful, players with a good physical make-up. They have three or four very interesting players who are skilled, fast and strong. At home they are very aggressive and are very confident. It’s a match that can be very difficult,” stressed Duarte.

For the Costa Rican strategist, to be able to work recently with the whole squad, including those who play in Colombia like midfielder Juan Barrera (Boyacá Chicó) and defender Luis Fernando Copete (Pasto) is very important prior to Wednesday’s trip to the Caribbean.

Duarte went on to explain that the absences of Ariagner Smith (Latvia) and Daniel Cadena (Spain) are due to injuries and that they will not be available for the first match, but the team will have forwards Jaime Moreno (Spain) and Daniel Chavarría (Malta), defenders Pablo Rodríguez (Costa Rica) and Ciril Errington (El Salvador), in addition to midfielder Byron Bonilla (Costa Rica).

After facing Saint Vincent and the Grenadines away, Nicaragua will play as the home team in Costa Rica in October against Anguilla and then in November against Haiti, before closing with a visit to Barbados in March 2019.