Brooklyn league official wants more from players

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Antiguan footballers selected to play during the annual Brooklyn League in the U.S.A., must change their mode of operation and thinking if they are to benefit fully from the experience.
This is the view of one member of the Antigua and Barbuda team competing in the league, Mali Olatunji, who said the players selected to travel to the U.S. on an annual basis are often, not very serious about the exercise which leaves the team at a disadvantage.
“Last year, while I was in training with them, there was a reluctance to come to practice, there was a reluctance to come to games. We also played in the league in the Bronx and we had to forfeit two games because we had players coming late and not showing up. We really don’t have anything much that we can do [about it] and I am going to be quite frank, they are big people in Antiguan terms and they are responsible for their own actions,” he said.
Olatunji, an assistant coach for the Antigua and Barbuda team, named a number of players already identified to represent the country in the popular league.
Parham’s Denny Henry, John Francis, Kenneth Colbourne, Jarvin Locker and Jahkime Gomes have all been chosen alongside Prince Walters and Vashami Allen of Grenades. Old Road’s Stefan Smith has also been selected.
The choices, Olatunji said, were however not that bountiful.
“I just went to see Jamaica play against Antigua at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium and I’ve been watching players since I’ve been here where I have seen almost 20 matches since January and I don’t want anybody to kill me for this but up until a few weeks ago I didn’t see one person that I wanted to go and play in the Brooklyn league in New York,” he said.
There are benefits, he added, to be derived from playing in the league.
“There were at least four persons who came to play with us that are in college because of that and that is one thing. Scouts also come out and watch the league a lot so it depends on attitude and physical skills and all of that why they may be chosen for something,” the former player said.
The league is set to start on May 20 and runs until September this year. The Antigua and Barbuda team will be coached by Ivan Jarvis.  

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