The ex-Tottenham youngster gunning for Clint Dempsey this weekend

Clint Dempsey 2

Zaine Francis-Angol was a Tottenham YTS who now plays for Motherwell but this season he can finally share a pitch with the Spurs player as his national side Antigua and Barbuda face off against the USA at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium. How have Antigua and Barbuda become one of the Caribbean's dominant football forces?

Not many people other than the football aficionado or Motherwell fans out there will know the name Zaine Francis-Angol but this weekend will see him face off against Clint Dempsey, a player he could have easily been team-mates with in a parallel universe.

While the American arrived at The Lane this summer Zaine was working hard to prove his worth to the Lanarkshire hierarchy, something he has now achieved as he begins to cement a place in the Well starting line-up.

Zaine had been a youth prospect at Spurs since he was a boy, born in Waltham Forest he remained at the club until July last year when he transferred to Fir Park. Now he gets the chance to play Dempsey and other big name American stars for his national team, Antigua and Barbuda.

While better known for their cricketing heritage the country has finally started to make an impact on the international football scene.

They may sit at the bottom of their group on the solitary point behind the seven point sharing USA, Guatemala and Jamaica but nonetheless to even be at this stage of the competition is something of an achievement for the side.

They qualified at the expense of Haiti from the previous round and Guyana also find themselves at this unprecedented stage after outperforming Trinidad and Tobago in their respective group.

While qualification looks unlikely it is still a massive achievement for a side that played their first international almost exactly 40 years ago and were spanked by Trinidad and Tobago. Now they do the spanking themselves, beating the US Virgin Islands 10-0 last October.

They held Jamaica to a draw earlier in the year and performed brilliantly against USA in a 3-1 loss and while this campaign has come too soon for them they host the Caribbean Cup in December hoping to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Like Guadeloupe, who had a great Gold Cup in 2007, the Caribbean nation has utilised expatriates, particulary in England, to great effect.

Mikele Leigertwood, Dexter Blackstock, Myles Weston and Moses Ashikodi have all played for the country while star striker Peter Byers has smashed home 33 goals in 38 appearances for the Benna Boys.

While they may face a drubbing from Team USA, particulary with Leigertwood out injured, you should definitely keep an eye on the Antigua and Barbuda national football team.

image: © NathanF

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