Wednesday 25 November, 2020

Bajan footballer earns debut title with English team

Barbados senior men's team forward Hallam Hope

Barbados senior men's team forward Hallam Hope

Despite the dark shadows casted over domestic sports by the COVID-19 virus, there has been a ray of sunshine beaming in the local football fraternity.

Along with advancing to League B in the Concacaf Nations League, the national senior men’s team can boast of having European competition winners in their camp, with the likes of Thierry Gale, Nick Blackman and Hallam Hope all tasting success for their clubs.

After five years of professional football, Hope captured his first career title, as he helped Swindon Town win the Sky Bet English Football League Two title.

The former Everton FC graduate, joined Swindon Town in January after a three-year spell with Carlisle United, where he converted 25 times in 104 matches.

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A move Hope labeled as delayed, as he had expected to transfer in last summer’s transfer window but a breakdown in negotiations prevented the 26-year-old forward from finalizing the move.

Hope stated there was some disappointment as he believed his time had expired at Carlisle and he needed a new challenge, plus Swindon’s playing style was very attractive and he can identify with their philosophy.

Swindon Town returned for their man in January and Hope repaid their confidence with two goals in his first two home games against Port Vale and Exeter respectively.

Hope said he was very pleased about the move and impressed with the quality of the environment.

“We have a big squad of quality players at Swindon and the manager changes the team around quite often; he uses everyone.

The training is of a high quality and that’s always going to be good for me”, said Hope.

Just like his club debut for Swindon, Hope bagged two goals for the Tridents in his first outing back in 2018 versus Guyana in a 2-2 draw in Georgetown.

Since then he has gone onto add two more goals, one of which helped Barbados defeat the Cayman Islands and advance to League B of the Concacaf Nations League.

Hope labeled that goal as one of the most important ones in his career, since it not only earned his team the victory but it was in front the home crowd which included his family.

Barbados face Guyana in their opening Concacaf Gold Cup qualifier, on a date to be announced and Hope is confident that his team can do the job and progress to the next round.

“I feel really confident, I think we have a great player from overseas in Nick Blackman that we didn’t have in the game we drew with Guyana and I’m looking forward to it [the game].

Every time I come back to Barbados the boys have always improved quite significantly from the previous game.  Coach Latapy has had a big effect, the training is a lot more organized and professional, so things are looking up at the moment for Barbados football”, Hope said.

Hope extended congratulations to his European-based teammates and indicated that they will be bringing their experience, professionalism and winning mentality to the Tridents in an effort to reach the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.

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