By Neto Baptiste
Close to 40 individuals, ranging between past players, fans and administrators, were inducted as honorary members of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) during Monday’s night’s Ordinary Congress held virtually on the Zoom platform.
The list includes former players Rolston Otto of Freeman’s Village, former women’s player Nolia Hodge Elvin, and administrators Lucaso Brumant and Ruth Williams. Noted supporters Glendon Winter and Eustace Crump were also inducted.
President of the football association and former national striker, Everton Gonsalves, said the body’s aim is to pay tribute to those who would have given to the sport while they are alive to accept the gesture.
“Associations have not kept up to pace in terms of recognising those who would have gone beyond the call of duty to ensure that the game is what it is and this is not only in football but it is also in the other disciplines like basketball and cricket but under my administration I will make sure that every person who would have given meritorious service to the sport is mentioned whist I am there,” he said.
Also inducted on the night were Verton “Geese” Harris, Cutbirth “Spade” Simmons, former referees Vanroy Burnes, Telford Thomas, Dr Ermina Oshoba, George and Amir Hourani, Whitfield “Wally” Samuel, Shirley-Ann Thomas and Lineta Mack who is the mother of former national women’s player Georgetta Lewis.
Other noted inclusions are Quintin Clarke of English Harbour, former executive member Clarvis Joseph, Daryl “Dadi” Greenaway, Glenroy “Duga” Andrew, Sean Deterville, Wesley Dyer and Barry “Little Z” Gordon amongst other.
Gonsalves expressed satisfaction with the manner in which Monday’s meeting was conducted, adding that the body will take a short break before returning early next year.
“I am happy to say that we are fully up to date as we would have tabled the financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2019 last evening [Monday] and so we can go into the yuletide season with the assurance that our membership is satisfied that we have no issue outstanding,” he said.
“The financial statement and the budget for 2021 were approved overwhelmingly and we capped it off with a presentation by FIFA and CONCACAF in relation to the revised statutes recommended by FIFA throughout the entire footballing world,” he added.
At least one member, Rowan Benjamin who attended the virtual meeting on behalf of the Liberta Sports Club, labelled the event shambolic, adding that members were not allowed to speak freely during the proceedings.
“It was shambolic, it was awful, it was horrible and gangster-like. I am not making any bones about it but you cannot have a congress and the participants who are so important, the shareholders, the clubs don’t have any say.
“It is the first time — and I have been to many congress — that I have ever seen a congress like this. The FA decided to mute all the mikes so no one had an input whether in the minutes, whether in the financial statements, and it was just awful,” he said.
The Antigua and Barbuda Football Association is set to name a new technical director and head coach in January as they move to start preparations for the CONCACAF leg of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.