By Neto Baptiste
President of the Dominica Football Association (DFA) Glen Etienne, says the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the sport in the Nature Isle adding that there has not been any competitive play since March 2020.
His claims come on the heels of news that the country was forced to pull its under-17 women’s team from the upcoming CONCACAF Women’s Qualifiers after seven members of the delegation tested positive for the virus late last week.
Speaking on Observer Radio’s Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Etienne said that recent disappointments further highlight the negative impact that the virus continues to have on sports in Dominica and across the Caribbean.
“We had to halt this league because the government had put protocols in place, and we had to stop the league. After that, we did have a little, with less cases in Dominica, we resumed our league and another league started which was our division; one league started but somewhere around July we had to shut down the league again totally. We were just a little more than halfway into the premier league and in the division one, a few games had been played already, so since then we have not restarted so from about July, August when we halted the football, we have not had any football being played on island,” he said.
Seven members of the under-17 delegation due to travel to Barbados for US visa purposes, five players and two officials, returned negative coronavirus tests as announced by the association’s PRO, Gerald George, on Saturday.
“We informed CONCACAF of the withdrawal because we had no choice because of the numbers, and when you have seven persons testing positive, then the other persons in the group would have to be isolated [quarantined] so that is one of the other areas, but we did inform CONCACAF of what transpired and we have not received any response from them,” the president said.
Etienne admitted however, that due to existing Covid-19 protocols, the team had not been placed in a bio-secure bubble prior to being tested.
“We did not have that type of provision as yet because we had a spike in Covid in Dominica up to now, so we were not really in camp at the time that happened. They [players] were coming from their various homes but we had the DFA transport available to them and transporting them. They had just done a pre-assessment medical test which entailed certain things that the competition regulation would have [asked for] so we were having this done and like I said, part of the Covid testing must be done before traveling and that’s where we got this result from,” he said.
Dominica was slated to contest Group A alongside St. Kitts and Nevis, US Virgin Islands and Suriname at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, USA. The qualifiers will take place from October 20 to November 1.