By Neto Baptiste
Two former national footballers, Schyan Jeffers and Troy “Bucket” Simon, believe that for the country to become more competitive on the regional and international scale, it must first change its approach to the game.
Simon, a former national, Freeman’s Village and Bassa midfielder, said the way the game is played has changed, and so the way we play and think the game must also change.
“If you check the way the game is now it is really changing and I think that we need to adapt, too. We play more direct like the English type of football and I don’t know why. The game now is more technical, more strategies go into the game now and that’s what we need. You have to build your team around players; so if you have a good midfielder, then you have to build the team around him,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jeffers, a former utility player, shared Simon’s sentiments, stating that there is a science to the game and that, if followed correctly, could lead to improved performances at all levels.
“How we approach our football with the pros and the cons, how we train, how we manage our load — because you know you cannot go out there and just train hard so you have to take you time gradually until you reach to that maximum fitness. One time I remember Fox [Lennox Julian] telling me how the team is over fit and I said to him ‘Fox, there is no way a person can be over fit, you can get fitter but you can’t be over fit’. Also, what we eat to recover, what we eat to gain energy, these are things we need to put to our football and our sports in Antigua; sports science,” the former player said.
Antigua and Barbuda currently sits 126th on the FIFA Rankings last updated April 9 this year. The Benna Boys are lodged between Angola and Togo who are ranked 125 and 127 respectively.
In the women’s game, Antigua and Barbuda is ranked 153 amongst 159 teams.