Former players believe lack of commitment is a major hindrance for players

Players compete in the ABFA’s Premier Division at the ARG. (File photo)
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By Neto Baptiste

Three of the country’s football icons believe players are less committed to the game and no longer play for pride and community.

Appearing on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, stalwarts of the game, Steve “Nato” Hurst, Dalma “Trouble” Thomas, and Rexford “Rexi” Rhodes all agreed that players need to give more and to be more dedicated to not only themselves but also to the communities they represent.

Thomas, a former Greenbay Hoppers player, said the new norm of paying players has led to disloyalty to teams and even community.

“Everybody wants more money so everybody running [from team to team] but before time you hold your own [stay with your team]. When you build something you’re supposed to stay with it and that was me because I’ve gotten a lot of offers from all sorts of teams but I couldn’t even think about leaving Geenbay. I cry every day because I think we [Hoppers] are supposed to be better by now, it’s too long for down there not to be better,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hurst, who featured for Liberta during the 1980s and 1990s, advocated for the return of some community leagues and for others to be properly organised.

“To me, I don’t know what has gotten the youths[distracted] but they are not serious. One of our major problems is that I think we should have a lot more community leagues, because when there were a lot of community leagues it used to build us up a lot. We never even had to go outside for players — and I heard when Gantone [Andy Nesbitt] said that the other day — that’s why I really don’t go to football because I don’t think we needed to import players. I don’t have anything against them but that makes us look like we were never good,” he said.

Former defender, Rhones who also featured for Liberta, echoed the sentiments of his two former national teammates, adding that players were more committed to community in the past.

“[In the past] we played for community and as bad as it was when a man [player] left from All Saints and came to Liberta or one leaves form Liberta and goes to Swetes, you have your community at heart and you don’t want to lose. As a matter of fact, when Liberta plays and we lose a game we went to sleep like four in the morning because we [would stay up] and players would curse and if I [missed] a goal then that would [haunt] me until the next match, so you didn’t want to lose,” the former player said.

Liberta have won the top flight title three times in 1984/5, 1986/7 and 2018/19 while Hoppers have won twice, in 2015/16 and 2017/18.

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