Derrick: Friendly matches too costly

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Antigua & Barbuda would have to play between 10 and 15 international friendly matches per year if they are to be successful against highly ranked teams during international tournaments.

This is according to General Secretary of the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) Gordon Derrick, who said the number of matches applies to every age group in which the country competes.

The undertaking he added, is however one that the association cannot afford at this time.

“Finances, we weren’t in a position to do it, we just didn’t have the funding to accommodate [matches] at that time and that’s the reality of the matter. There is a new format to football in the region which hasn’t been fully released by

CONCACAF just yet, but there is a new thing called the Nations Cup which is going to be coming out,” he said.

“We are just trying to get the calendar together and the Benna Boys will probably try to do a few friendlies this year as we start getting prepared for that tournament which will actually be next year,” he added.

His statement comes on the heels of a winless campaign by the National Under-20 squad in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers held in Costa Rica.

The Benna Youths lost all three of their encounters to end their Group A campaign at the bottom of the standings.

Derrick admitted that the team was under-prepared going into the high-profile tournament.

“We need more competition at this level, in terms of friendlies at the higher level in terms of playing more of the Costa Ric’s or the Mexicos and others on a regular basis throughout the year and I think that will get the guys accustomed to the pace of the game so it’s just a matter of more games in my opinion,” he said.

The country’s Under-20 players returned to Antigua on Saturday.

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