By Neto Baptiste
Former national striker and coach, Derrick Edwards, has taken the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) to task over what he says is its failure to publicise a number of tryouts with local players ahead of a pending combine with a number of US-based coaches and scouts next month.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Edwards, who coaches Grenades in the FA’s Premier Division, said he only learned of the intended combine through second-hand information, and he believes that the information should have been disseminated to the clubs and coaches.
“When you have a combine of a magnitude like that, where you have players that can get an opportunity to get an education, then I think the whole of Antigua should know what’s going on, so even a press conference or a press release to bring it out. If you’re going to talk about transparency then that’s transparency,” he said.
“As a coach and a former coach of the national team, I feel that something like that I should have an understanding of what’s going on because I have some players in my community in Jennings, Bolans, Old Road and so on who have probably gotten left out the loop,” he added.
Reports are that the FA will host the combine from December 12 to 14 where players will be allowed to put their talent on display for a number of US coaches and colleges in the hopes of attracting offers for scholarships.
Indications are that the FA has chosen players from its database who have been invited to take part in a number of trials and preparatory sessions leading into the main event.
Edwards contends that although he understands that that body will include its elite players, there are others not in the existing database who may not have been considered.
“I think that Sowerby plays a critical role because he is in charge in youth football, and also the senior national football as well, so at the end of the day I think something like that should have come out of the ABFA via Mr. Sowerby Gomes, the technical director. I am disappointed because at the end of the day, as an experienced coach, and not only me but other coaches, should have had this opportunity to at least send one or two players from their clubs that they know have some players with potential,” the once highly- rated striker said.
Information indicates that at least 50 players have already been invited by the football association to participate in preliminary trials being head at the body’s technical and training facility located on Factory Road.