By Neto Baptiste
Former national cricketer, Enoch Lewis, has called on the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) to better structure its annual competitions, adding that the body’s tendency to start its leagues much later than the September stipulated dates often stymies the smooth transition into the cricket season for those athletes who play both sports.
“The way football is structured, it is affecting cricket because in Antigua, fortunately or unfortunately, we have multipurpose facilities and when I was playing there were seasons. In other words, come January 1 there was no doubt that we were going to start to play cricket and then later down in the year from whatever date it was football,” he said.
“Now with football just running over into cricket it means that some guys who play both sports now have a challenge and you’re asking them to make a choice and you’re now robbing the youngsters who are coming through of the opportunity to see both sports and then later, make a decision,” he added.
Lewis who is currently head of the Leeward Islands Cricket Board (LICB) was, at the time, speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show and called on the country’s sports ministry to get involved by brining all heads of associations together for discussions on the way forward.
“The people in charge and I don’t know if it’s Ministry of Sports or they have a body in charge of administering the sports in Antigua but somebody should sit down or all sports should sit down and take a look at it because I think we are doing ourselves a disservice by doing that. We can’t be selfish as one sport and we have to look and see because I would like to see more young people getting involved in multiple sports,” he said.
Lewis was also an opening batsman for the Swetes cricket team in the 70s and 80s.
The football association’s programme is scheduled to begin in September every year but has often started months later owing to extensive rehabilitation work often needed at the Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG) following the annual Carnival celebrations.
Although some pundits have argued that the lower tiers, the First and Second Divisions, should start at its scheduled date, the FA has failed to make it a reality.