By Neto Baptiste
Two of the country’s England-based footballers have said they were not contacted ahead of the country’s participation in the Concacaf Nations League (CNL) and that there has been no communication between themselves and the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) for some time now.
Former captain Joshua Parker and goalkeeper Brentton Muhammad spoke on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show on Monday and said they are confused as to why they had not been invited to represent the country.
Parker, who has represented Antigua and Barbuda since the youth level, said he felt disparaged by the development.
“I’ve been the captain for the past four or five years and, I think, to receive no call from any national team as the captain it would be controversial; and probably when myself and Quinton Griffith are probably the longest-serving players, because I have been playing for my country for the past 10 years and I’ve never turned down an opportunity to come, so to receive no call was a bit disheartening; but I took it with a pinch of salt and just kind of didn’t allow it to affect me and affect where I earn my money at the end of the day,” he said.
Muhammad, who plays professionally in Iceland, said he too was disappointed that the FA hadn’t reached out one way or the other.
“They have my number, my email address and other forms of contact, and I was disappointed that I didn’t, at least, receive any information. I was surprised, because even for the standard they [ABFA] have produced themselves, I think that’s poor for a player that has given seven years of service and I would say, has not done too badly. I think not contacting a player, whether you want them to play or not, I think is poor even from their standards,” he said.
The goalkeeper, who has also represented Greenbay Hoppers in the ABFA’s Premier Division, said the consensus has been the same with other overseas-based players he has been in contact with.
“As for all of the players that I have spoken to who are overseas-based players, I think the contact has been zero to minimal and I am not understanding why. If you feel like we have not been up to standard then that conversation just needs to be had. I am not advocating for any player and that they are about being taken out of the squad due to performances or lack of performance because I think all of us are held to some sort of standard,” Muhammad said.
“I think my main concern is the communication and I don’t understand why it has come to this. Where this has come from? And I think that anyone who watches the Benna Boys would agree that not every overseas player deserves to be in the team. I am not saying everyone deserves to be in the team, but it’s confusing as to where this has come from,” the player added.
An all-local Antigua and Barbuda team beat Curacao 2-1 last November when they met here at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground. The Benna Boys however suffered a crushing 6-0 loss to Jamaica earlier this month in Jamaica. Antigua and Barbuda then rebounded to beat Aruba 2-1 here just three days later.