By Neto Baptiste
Amidst reports that senior national head coach, Michel Dinzey, announced he would be stepping down from the role following the team’s friendly against Guatemala this week, President of the national football association, Everton Gonsalves, has given the German-born coach a positive review.
According to sources travelling with the senior Benna Boys, both Dinzey and his assistant, Lenny Hewlett, announced to players following their 3-2 victory over Aruba, that they will be stepping down from their roles.
The coach reportedly told players that his decision to step down had been made weeks prior to the team’s clash against Aruba on Tuesday.
When contacted, Gonsalves said he has not received anything in writing but said Dinzey has brought a lot of positives to the role.
“He has brought another level of discipline and buy-in and so we’ll sit down, the technical committee which comprises myself, the technical director [Rolston Williams], Fernando Abraham and we have just invited another person to sit on that, and we will look at all the activities leading up to the end, and by the end of the year, certainly early January [next year] before we get into our under-20 competition, we will make a final decision whether he is the man going forward or whether we need to look in another direction but I am encouraged,” he said.
“He has put in a lot of hard work, he came during very tumultuous times and he has dedicated himself to Antigua, so all those will serve him well but at the end of the day results is the most important thing and at that level it’s not the best place to look at development, but look to win and develop in the younger categories,” he added.
Antigua and Barbuda won three of their Group C, League B fixtures to finish on nine points and avoid relegation to League C in the CONCACAF Nations League. The team will play in a secondary Gold Cup qualifying round slated to start March next year.
Gonsalves, a former national striker, also expressed some degree of satisfaction with the team’s performance.
“I won’t say that I am pleased, but I am encouraged by the performances because we are still struggling with the principle of whether we should do like all of the other teams who are qualifying and going forward by playing a significant amount or all overseas-based players. We are still not of the opinion that is the best way to go, so I am encouraged and heartened by the level of play by the local players,” he said.
“Last night [Monday] Jayden Martin started in goal and he is around 16 or 17 years old so I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel and I just want to encourage the younger players to decide if it’s football they want, then they have to go into it full time and make the best of the opportunities,” the football boss said.
Dinzey announced on March 7 this year, via Facebook, that he had been hired as the new coach for the Antigua and Barbuda senior national team. He has however failed to get the senior team over the hump, missing out on an automatic berth into next year’s Gold Cup via the CONCACAF Nations League.