President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Everton ‘Batow’ Gonsalves, says the organisation has been very active behind the scenes despite the long break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Football was brought to a halt on March 13, 2020.
To assist teams since then, the ABFA ensured that teams received COVID-19 relief funds to the tune of $8000. The second distribution of funds is expected by the end of January 2021.
The former Bartlesville College striker explained the technical committee will meet next week. They will discuss the selection of a technical director and head coach following CONCACAF’s announcement that World Cup qualifiers will start early next year.
Antigua and Barbuda’s group is scheduled to kick-off in March.
Over 50 coaches have applied for both positions with applications coming from several countries including Cyprus and Spain.
A number of coaches locally have also applied. PointeXpress learned from a source who wished not to be named, that former national player Conrad ‘Boast’ Whyte and former national defender, Lenny Hewlett, have expressed an interest.
Also indicating an interest is former national Technical Director of the Antigua and Barbuda Benna Boyz and Trinidad and Tobago Soca warriors, Zoran Vranesh.
In a lengthy discussion with PointeXpress, Vranesh expressed the love and respect he developed for Antigua and Barbuda and its people during his time here. Vranesh is believed to be a favorite for the job because of his experience, knowledge of Caribbean culture and past association with Antigua and Barbuda football fraternity.
With the short period available to prepare for next year’s qualifiers, someone with knowledge of the culture and players will likely top the ABFA’s priority list when choosing a coach.
Meanwhile, a number of former national players have thrown their support behind Vranesh who was responsible for developing young talent in the Future Stars FC during his stint in Antigua.
While the competition committee will also meet next week to decide the way forward for the sport in 2021, PointeXpress has been reliably informed that competitive sports is unlikely to resume until September 2021. This is supported by the fact that the regional Super 50 and other cricket tournaments are expected to take place earlier in the year.
Gonsalves said the safety of players, supporters, referees and executive members remains his primary focus in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ministry of Health has given the ABFA clearance for a maximum of 25 players to resume training with the requirement that they follow COVID-19 protocols.
The ABFA congress is scheduled to take place on December 21.