From the National League North to the Caribbean Cup qualifiers! Now Boston United’s Courtney Wildin is targeting a place at the Gold Cup with Antigua and Barbuda

Courtney Wildin.
Courtney Wildin.

Courtney Wildin is targeting a place at next year’s Gold Cup.

The Boston United defender switched the National League North for the searing heat of the Caribbean last week while on international duty for Antigua and Barbuda.

Following a 3-0 defeat to Curacao, the Benna Boys beat Puerto Rico 2-0 to secure second in their qualifying group.

While group winners automatically qualify for next year’s Caribbean Cup and CONACAF Gold Cup - the Central, North American and Caribbean Championships - in Florida, the three best runners-up will go into next month’s play-off group.

There the top team will qualify for the 2017 Caribbean Cup and also gain a play-off spot for the Gold Cup.

But with Hurricane Matthew sweeping through the Caribbean, a number of qualifiers were postponed until next month, meaning Wildin and his side face a nervous wait to learn whether or not they will qualify.

“We’re looking to win the play-off, and if we do then we will qualify for the Gold Cup in June for a month in Florida,” he said.

“That’s the aim, where I want to be.

“We can still do it. We’re waiting on a few results and hopefully they’ll go our way.”

One of the groups’ affected by the hurricane included St Kitts and Nevis, the national team of Pilgrim Jason St Juste.

His side still have their own chance of qualification and, despite a 1-0 defeat to French Guiana, have to face Haiti in a re-arranged contest in November.

“It’s so different,” said Wildin reflecting on the experience.

“You get so much more time on the ball.

“There’s lots of technical players and the climate is so hot, you can’t press for 90 minutes.

“It’s really enjoyable, you’re playing for your country so I can’t ask for more.”

Temperatures mean that teams train in the evening, giving Wildin - whose younger brother Luther, a Notts County player on loan at Grantham Town, has received an under 20 call-up with Antigua - the chance to catch up with family members on his father’s side who still live on the island.

But despite enjoying his experience, Wildin admitted there were still a few differences he had to come to terms with.

He added: “It’s just a different experience, playing with Spanish (speaking) referees who don’t talk your language, and you can’t talk to them about a situation.

“The fans are great, but if you’re doing badly they’ll let you know.

“But if you’re doing well they’re behind you.”