Cavalier’s Speid positive despite Caribbean Cup final loss
Even after the Cavalier Football Club (FC) fell 0-2 to Suriname’s SV Robinhood in the second leg of the 2023 Concacaf Caribbean Cup final late on Wednesday, Head Coach Rudolph Speid expressed optimism about his team’s prospects.
The victory assured SV Robinhood automatic progress to the Concacaf Champion Cup round of 16 in 2024, while Cavalier will compete in a qualifying round.
“I think it was a positive campaign for us. I am a little bit disappointed because, at the end, we weren’t able to win, but we can’t take anything from the boys as they tried; we all tried as a team. In addition, we were short-staffed, and so I think we did extremely well,” Speid said.
Cavalier FC lost the first leg 0-1 in Suriname, thereby losing 0-3 on aggregate.
Substitute Franklin Singodikromo, in the 88th minute, and Captain Jamihio Rigters in the 90+4 minute scored the goals for SV Robinhood inside the National Stadium in St Andrew.
Cavalier FC went down to 10 men in the 55th minute after the tournament’s leading goal-scorer Shaniel Thomas was sent off for picking up a second yellow card.
“That red card effectively decided the game. We still tried after that, but we had to be improvising. I just thought it was a little harsh, and that probably cost us the game. We did a lot of attacking in the first half. We hit the post, and that was a little unfortunate. We are in rebuilding mode, but I still think it was a good effort.
“I don’t think it [losing the final] is a real issue, as we could probably stay in the league a little longer now. If we had won, we would have gone straight to the round of 16, but now we have to play a game before going there,” Speid said.
Speid stated that reaching the Caribbean Cup finals was a step forward, as the club has appeared in six finals this season. The only regret he expressed was that they only won one of those finals.
“This senior team went to the local premier league final, the finals of the knockout competition, and now the Caribbean Cup finals. The women’s team went to both the premier league and the knockout finals as well, and our Under-15 team also went to a final,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
“Here is where I am disappointed more than everything else. This is the sixth final that Cavalier played in this year, and we have only won one. The disappointment is that we are not able to go over that hurdle. The only victory was with the Under-15, and so we are really disappointed going to so many finals and winning only one.
“I am going to be crying a little, but not too much, because to get to six finals in one year is really an achievement in itself, but there is a shining light there, and so we have to give thanks for that. You know that you learn more when you lose than when you win, and so I hope we have learned something,” Speid said.
The Cavalier squad fought tooth and nail from start to finish despite conceding two goals near the end of the game. Both teams remained cautious for the opening half-hour of the game until Cavalier’s Adrian Reid hit the left upright with a powerful low strike from 30 yards out, which was the only serious chance of scoring before the half. Cavalier came out looking for goals on the restart, but bad decisions from the attacking unit in front of goal prevented the home team from breaking through. SV Robinhood then exploited on counter-attacks to score two goals past Cavalier goalkeeper Vino Barclett to end the game.
SV Robinhood Head Coach Roberto Godeken was happy with his team’s effort and believed the victory was well-deserved.
“It was a very difficult match because Cavalier plays very long, and it was always going to be challenging. It was good to get the first win at home because playing in Jamaica, the hometown of our opponents, is always going to be difficult. The last time SV Robinhood was in the finals was back in 1994, and to reach the finals here again is very good,” he said.