By Neto Baptiste
Women’s football in Antigua is in need of resuscitation and it is going to take a major effort at both the community and association levels to put that aspect of the sport on the right track.
This is according to former national men’s coach and former national striker, Derrick Edwards, who said the first hurdle is to generate interest amongst females which he said could only be done via competitions.
“The communities, along with the football association, both have big roles to play. The ladies, they need competition and you can’t have the national team going into leagues [tournaments] and not getting any competition [locally] so if it means that the competition has to start from the ABFA level then it should and if you have to start in the community then it should. It is difficult to just put a team or prepare a team for four weeks or five weeks and send the ladies to ply in a tournament and don’t have any competition [locally],” he said.
The Jennings Grenades head coach also pointed to the important of a development programme and a working relationship between all stakeholders.
“It’s going to start at the grassroots level and from there up to the schools league level and then up to the senior level. But it’s going to take planning, a lot of dedicated time because coaching ladies is much more difficult and it should be mandatory that you have a female team and an under-15 team in each club,” Edwards said.
Having worked with the SAP female team in the part, Edwards revealed he has future plans for the round south area.
“Part of my plan going forward on the south side is that I am going to have a little female programme from age five to 10 because a lot of females are getting into football and cricket right now, so you just need to have it structured properly and get the parents to buy into what you’re doing,” he said.
The senior women’s programme has struggled over the years with only a handful of clubs producing teams for the competitions, which often end prematurely.