DIRIAMBA, Nicaragua – For Nicaragua Head Coach Henry Duarte, there is no mistaking the importance of Sunday’s 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League qualifier versus Barbados in Barbados.
With a Nicaragua win, combined with dropped points by one of Bermuda, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis or the Dominican Republic, the Pinoleros would qualify for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.
Yet standing in their way is a very difficult Barbados team that thrives playing in front of its home fans at Wildey Turf in Wildey.
“Any Caribbean national team at home is a tough opponent, it is for Nicaragua and for others in the region because of the weather and the characteristics of their players,” said Duarte to reporters on Wednesday.
“The Caribbean player has a big ego playing at home. They compete, they make it tough. It’s a final for us and we are playing to get to the Gold Cup, it’s our World Cup within Concacaf and we want to qualify for the second time,” added Duarte.
After qualifying for the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup in which it was narrowly defeated in all three group stage matches, Nicaragua is keen to make a second straight trip to the tournament and continue to elevate its international profile.
“We want to qualify for the Gold Cup and raise the image of the national team at the international level, that national teams like Bolivia and Guatemala keep offering us to play. That is a positive image,” concluded Duarte.