Under the direction of Costa Rican coach Henry Duarte, the "Blue and White" has not only not been the team that in 2015 won the affection of a country interested more in baseball or boxing, ranking among the top 100 in the world, but it has also dropped to the 137th position of the FIFA World Ranking.
Nicaragua's deficiencies are accentuated without Barrera, whether due to injury, as demonstrated by Thursday's draw against an almost youthful Cuba, with an average of 23 years.
The objective of the friendly series against the island team is for Nicaraguan players to take a rhythm for their next meetings in the League of Nations, first against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and then with Suriname, in search of a place for the 2021 Gold Cup .
In the past, the “Blue and White” would not have had problems in qualifying first in League B, of the League of Nations, which it shares with the selection of Dominica, Sanvicentina and Surinamese, but this year it has only accumulated 7 of 12 possible points, and march only ahead of the Dominiques set.
Beyond the absence of Barrera, Nicaragua showed a poor game against Cuba, which came from losing 7-0 to the United States, after the defection of its two pillars, Yordan Santa Cruz and Andy Barquero.
Nicaragua still aspires to qualify in the first place of the B League, to obtain a direct quota to the 2021 Gold Cup, or failing that, to do so in the second position, to dispute a playoff.
To ensure the quota, the "Blue and White" has to win in the League of Nations to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, next day 15 in Kingston, and 18 to Suriname, in Managua.
If Barrera's recovery deadlines are met, Nicaragua could count on its star in both matches.
The second encounter with Cuba will mark the sensations of the Nicaraguan team, to continue in the League of Nations.
– Possible alignments:
Nicaragua: Denillson Gutierrez; Jason Castelon, Wilder Wilson, Luis Lopez, Manuel Rosas; Bismark Montiel, Jonathan Moncada, Brandon Ayerdis, Jorge Betancourt; Ricardo Mendieta and Jaime Moreno.
Coach: Henry Duarte.
Cuba: Sandy Sanchez; Erick Rizo, Daniel Morejon, Dario Ramos, Jose Almelo; Jean C. Rodriguez, Karel Espino, Roland Abreu, Jose Perez; Maykel Reyes and Luis Paradela.
Coach: Pablo Sanchez.
Referee: To be defined.
Stadium: National Soccer, Managua.
Time: 19.00 local (01.00 GMT Monday).