Covid-19 restrictions hampering full rollout of national plan, says technical director

Technical director Sowerby Gomes (second from right) is seen with ABFA General Secretary Rohan Hector (right), FA president Everton Gonsalves (left) and referee department head Kelesha Antoine. (ABFA photo)
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By Neto Baptiste 

The “national plan” for football has been presented to some B licensed coaches and could be rolled out to others in the coming weeks. 

This is according the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) technical director and former national player, Sowerby Gomes, who said a number of coaches who were engaged in a B licence course at the time, were presented with the plan at the body’s technical and training center located on Sir Sydney Walling Highway. 

“We would have divulged the plan with all the B licensed coaches who are during their development period but the C licensed coaches along with the D licensed coaches who are supposed to be brought in, we could not do that because of the large number of coaches and as you know, distance and contact, we have to be very careful with that. We have to also look at the testing if we are bringing all these coaches in one particular area,” he said. 

Gomes, who was appointed to the post in July this year, hinted back then that a national plan for football was nearing completion. 

He said the ongoing pandemic negatively impacted the way and the timeframe in which the plan was developed.

“The second surge of this pandemic really was not an easy feat and we had to navigate through this even though we had players being trained along with referees and so forth using the facilities we had to be very cautious with it so that kind of slowed us up in terms of how we developed the plan,” Gomes said. 

Revealing that the plan will eventually be made public, he said the primary aim is to ensure that all coaches are brought up to speed. 

“We want to share it with our coaches first because they are the main ingredient of this development and then it will be shared out to everybody, but we don’t want to share it with everybody and then who is supposed to be affected is not being affected most so because the plan was just completed right at the same time we were doing out B licensed courses, the B licensed coaches through the development programme, got a firsthand opportunity to view it,” he said.  

Gomes replaced the former technical director, Rolston Williams,following his death in October of 2020.  Also, former national goalkeeper Kelesha Antoine was named head of the referees’ department in July. 

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