The scheduled friendly encounter between Estonia and the Antigua & Barbuda senior national football team on November 22, will bring with it benefits outside of the 90 minutes of play to be enjoyed by fans here.
This is according to General Secretary of the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Gordon Derrick, who said coaches and others will benefit from the European team’s planned visit to Antigua.
“The game is great for us in terms of the public, but what we are going to do, on the 20th and the 21st is that all the senior coaches in Antigua will be invited to the ARG and the Estonian coaching staff will have an open discussion as to what they are doing in Europe and what we are doing here. So it’s like an exchange programme to pass ideas on what is being done and what can be done,” he said.
The ABFA, on Monday, named a 21-member national training squad in preparation for the encounter with the team ranked 119 in the last FIFA rankings published on October 20.
The squad consists of goalkeepers Prince Walter, Daverick Lockhart, Zion Armstrong and Samuel Watley; defenders Akeem Thomas, Troy Dublin, Vashami Allen, Jamarlie Stevens, Shavorn Phillip and Mervyn Hazelwood; and midfielders Tamorley Thomas, Randolph Burton, Avier Christian, Eugene Kirwan, Novelle Francis, Denny Henry and Juwon Roberts.
Forwards Tevaughn Harriette, Stefan Smith, Javorn Stevens and Peter Byers complete the selections.
Derrick explained how the connection was made with the Estonian team.
“When we went to the Congress in Mexico in May, the president of St Kitts [and I] were hanging out and we met the president of Estonia [St Kitts would have played Estonia last year in Estonia and Andorra when they made their European tour] so he said he wanted to do a return to the region but they wanted to play more than one game. They are going to St Kitts and we were right there so we said sure, why don’t you come over and play us because it is just one hop over,” the GS said.
Training sessions will be held at the Antigua Recreation Ground (ARG) starting at 6 pm nightly. Antigua & Barbuda is currently ranked 82 by FIFA.