By Neto Baptiste
As social distancing protocols put in place by governments across the globe continue to hamper the return of physical sports, past players have been reliving their glory days, many telling their true stories in public for the first time.
Three of the country’s former national footballers in Eustace “Barbas” Ferrance, Lennie Quashie and Derrick “Pretty Boy” Edwards are no exception, all appearing on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show on Wednesday, sharing their tales from fans and foes.
Heralded as one of the smoothest defenders in the game during his tenure with a dominant Parham team, Ferrance said the position was not his first choice but that he was forced into it after the main sweeper left for an opposing team in the 80s.
Despite his dominance however, the player said he never realised he had done so well.
“I didn’t see myself as people talked about me. I know I was tough, rough but not as people talk about me and honestly, I always have myself on the lower part of the football scale. I know I wasn’t that talented like some of the other guys so I had to work hard doing a lot of physicals just to keep up,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ferrance’s opposite and one of the country’s top former strikers, Edwards, explained that his move to a then-budding Lion Hill Spliff in the late 80s to early 90s, helped paved the way for his success at the national level.
“At the time, I was in the national team and to keep yourself in shape and in playing condition you have to be training, and at the time, SAP was demoted from the Premier Division and the guys were not training. I would show up on the park and there were only five or six guys and I couldn’t lose my form at the time, so I had to choose a team in the Premier Division to go and play with to keep my form,” he said.
“I had gotten a couple of offers from other clubs, but I think Spilff was a team that really had the [drive] and it was a little bit close to my home,” the striker added.
Nicknamed “Number four bound to score,” Edwards built a reputation on being clinical in front of goal at all levels and is now a successful coach, having won the Premier Division as both player and coach.
Quashie, who was part of the dominant Empire team of the 90s, credited two close friends with his move to the Gray’s Farm team after he came here from St. Vincent as a young recruit for the police force.
“My move to Empire, I have to credit that to pilot Sam or Beresford Sam, he is like a father to me, a mentor and I always said that if I made it big in football and so on. that Sam, whatever he is doing, he has to retire and come along with me, be a part of my management team and so on, but he actually brought me down to Empire. I was well received and everything and I think I would also want to say thanks to personally, my good friend Epilus [Veron Edwards Jr.] because it was through Sam and Epilus why I ended up in college,” he said.
The Empire FC has won a total of 13 Premier Division titles and remains the most decorated team in national football.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a complete shutdown of sporting activities with government only recently lifting restrictions on some “individual” sports like golf and cycling. Although athletes in those disciplines are allowed to play, all competitions are still restricted.