St. John’s Antigua- The country’s lone professional football club, Antigua Barracuda, may be forced to pull out of this year’s United Soccer Leagues (USL).
According to national defender and recently appointed player/coach of the private entity, George “Sowa” Dublin, the team’s participation is in doubt as the registration deadline has passed without them being able to submit a roster to the USL.
This, the player said, will leave a number of young players out of work.
“I have been reading on the website that the deadline has passed for registration so I would want to believe that it is in doubt. There are 20 plus Antiguans who depend on jobs through Barracuda and if there is no Barracuda then 20 plus Antiguans are out of a job. How much of these people who come on the radio and ridicule Barracuda is willing to give a job to some of these individuals or give that individual something out of their salary at the end of the month?” Dublin asked.
“Some will say it has not improved the football in Antigua & Barbuda. We have six Antiguan-born players in leagues outside of Antigua & Barbuda so it may not be reaping any major rewards in respect of us seeing them on TV playing in the MLS or whatever, but it is showing some sort of progress that players are developing,” Dublin said.
Antigua Barracuda, although having hosted trials two weekends ago, is yet to submit the minimum required 14 names to the USL. The deadline for submission of rosters came to a close last Friday.
When asked to address claims by now former CEO Roger “Bo” Matthew that his elevation to player/coach was one of the reasons the former coach tendered his resignation, Dublin said it came as a surprise as the matter was previously discussed at the board level.
“It is really ironic that is why ‘Bo Jangles’ is going to resign when, in preparing to leave for the USA the other day, Bo and I had a meeting with ‘Nando’ (Fernando Abraham) and everything was clearly put across the board that I will be the assistant, Lenny will be the coach, and if Lenny cannot travel but if Bo travels with the team then he would be the man on the bench if I have to be on the field or ‘Nando’ if that is the case,” he said.
“We know the scenario with the technical director being the head coach wasn’t the best thing for the team last year so they don’t want to venture back into that. I came back, they had the tryouts, we had a meeting and there were no problems. But then all of a sudden I hear ‘Bo’ is resigning and that I am a problem. So he had three, four and five tongues as far as I am concerned because he had no problems two weeks before the fact. ‘Bo’ should really say the real reason he is resigning and stop trying to hide it behind all kinds of crap,” he added.
According to Dublin, he is not the first and certainly not the last player who will be asked to play the familiar role.
“Houston Dynamo and Brian Ching, who I think is their top goal scorer and who also plays for the US, is the assistant coach. So if the Houston Dynamo, a bigger club than Barracuda and with a lot more money can have a player/coach …” he said.
“I am qualified because not many coaches in Antigua have a better qualification than I have. I didn’t buy it. I went and did the course along with some of these top coaches here to get it so nobody gave me anything.
“In this world everybody is about moving forward and I am not going to be a player forever. So if you could be a player/coach and play and coach at the same time, then what is wrong with that? I could just move straight from playing to coaching at the same time,” the player added.
Antigua Barracuda FC are provisionally slated to open the 2013 season on April 13 when they take on Charlotte Eagles at the Queens University Stadium in the US.