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ABFA Presidency Hopeful Barbara Coates: I Have Been Sidelined Since 2018 As An Executive

By Neto Baptiste

Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) presidency hopeful, Barbara Coates, is claiming that since publicly announcing her intentions to challenge sitting head Everton Gonsalves she has been further ostracised as an executive member.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Coates said she first realised in 2018 that only some executive members were privy to certain information but added that since her decision to run for the top spot late last year, she has had to address the issue on several occasions and has even written several emails.

“I have to be asking for information that if you’re on a board then you’re expecting that everything is shared and I would have said this sometime before that it was as early as 2018 when I realized that you’re kind of making up numbers [as an executive member].

“My thing is that – and you’d like to think that even if you think that I am challenging you – that at least give me an opportunity to say why you want to go down High Street or why shouldn’t we go the other way,” she said. 

A member of the CPTSA Wings organisation, Coates remains convinced that leadership is the major issue stifling the growth of the sport.

“Having been on the slate with the current president I still believe that leadership matters. If you’re going to have a board that has been put in place or selected, you as the leader must have retreats and you have sessions so that persons could understand their roles and that’s how you do it.

“If you don’t do it like that then you are just going to have a group of people sitting down and not knowing what to do,” she said.

Coates said that, if successful, her main thrust will be on development at both the grassroots and club level.

“We’re looking to have more development in terms of our youth programmes because it has to happen from the beginning and it has to happen there, and from there we are going to look at our club structure and infrastructure and the programmes we want to do for our clubs so they have to change so that we could adapt to the change of football because it is stagnant and we’re saying it’s time for that change.

“We’re also looking for our football administrators across this island because they need to have better tools so they could do their jobs,” the presidency hopeful said.

The ABFA elections are constitutionally due in May this year but fears are that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could force the body to postpone its AGM.

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