By Neto Baptiste
Former national defender and a former professional footballer with Trinidad and Tobago’s Joe Public, George Dublin, wants clubs to place more emphasis on creating opportunities for players outside of Antigua.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Dublin said that although the FA has some responsibility regarding the preparation of relevant transfer documents and so forth, that clubs must be prepared to do the leg work if they are to reap the benefits.
“I think clubs need to be able to develop these players where they are confident to speak to somebody else about these players. I am going to have 10 players for 15 years and all I am interested in is winning our league or being in the top division, but am I developing these players good enough where I could say, let me call this club and say ‘I have a player and I will pay the money for them to come and if you take them then I get back half the money’,” he said.
The Greenbay Hoppers player who also played for Tobago United between 2007 and 2008, said many of the country’s past and current players are talented enough to play in any professional league across the region and possibly the world but were denied only through lack of opportunity.
“Any player — Bubbler Gregory, Peter Byers, Quinton Griffith, Molvin James — and anyone of them that would have grown up in a different environment or with a different mentality — because at times it’s a mentality thing because being able to be comfortable on the outside [of Antigua] — I think they may have been able to prosper more or have a stronger will. In terms of Ziggy Thomas, I think it has just never been the right place or the right time or even the right set of people to give proper guidance in some cases,” Dublin said.
Responding to questions regarding the importation of players by clubs during the football association’s domestic programme, Dublin said that although he would not support a cap, clubs must ensure that when selecting players to import that they must be of a higher standard. He added that the arrangement must be reciprocal.
“Somebody might not like this statement, but let us be real. We have had over the years, arguments regarding the [number] of players that are brought into the league. I think that if we bring foreign players into our league, it is to advance the league by making it more popular around the Caribbean and to bring quality players in our league,” he said.
“If these players are quality players because I have been to Trinidad [to play] and I have taken players to Trinidad based on the fact that I am not a bad player, and coaches believe, based on my reputation as a player, that I am going to bring quality. With all the players we bring here, do we hear of any of our players leaving to go into any other country to play? The opportunity that we are giving [to the foreign players] we’re not getting,” he added.
Dublin, who is currently coach of the Montserrat men’s team, was part of the Joe Public side which won the TT Pro League title in 2006. He moved to Tobago United in 2007, but spent just one season there before returning to Antigua to play for Hoppers in the Premier Division. In 2011, Dublin transferred to the new Antigua Barracuda FC team prior to its first season in the USL Professional Division.