BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - For St. Kitts and Nevis, the moment has come to take the next step forward.
The island nation has steadily shown improvement in the three years since Jacques Passy became Head Coach and is now seeking to make history by finishing in the top ten of CONCACAF Nations League Qualifying and earning a place in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
"Our objective is to qualify for the Gold Cup," said Passey in an exclusive interview with CONCACAF.com.
"We have to compete for that position. We are not the same team as from three years ago. Our mindset, our vision is to be in the top ten with the short-term objective of reaching the Gold Cup in 2019," added Passey.
Four difficult contests await the Sugar Boyz in Nations League qualifying in the form of Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Canada and Suriname. They are four opponents that Passey knows will provide a test for his players.
"It's a tough schedule. Puerto Rico plays good football, Saint Martin can bring in players with French experience, Canada has great players like Tosaint Ricketts, Cyle Larin, Jonathan Osorio and Suriname I know like the palm of my hand. They have excellent local players," said Passey.
While St. Kitts and Nevis have achieved some history-making results in Passey's tenure, including becoming the first CFU nation to win a match on European soil when they defeated Andorra 1-0 in a November 2015 friendly, what stands out most to the Mexican coach is the team's football DNA.
"This is a team that has tactical versatility. Their greatest virtue is their playing intensity and being able to adapt; they know when they need to pressure with the ball and also when they need to concede possession. The players are highly intelligent and committed," said Passey.
As part of their preparation for Nations League qualifying, Passey is making sure his team gets a chance to face sturdy competition in a series of friendlies, including this Thursday's contest against 2015 and 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup finalists Jamaica.
"This is a great opportunity for our players to show themselves. Jamaica is a very important team. The have the highest FIFA-ranked Caribbean team (48th) so this will be an extraordinary match for us," concluded Passey.