George Dublin: Veteran Players Will Be Missed But Others Must Step Up

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By Neto Baptiste

Veteran players like striker Peter “Big Pete” Byers, winger Tamorley “Ziggy” Thomas and defender Karanja Mack, who were notably left out of a recently named 30-man Benna Boys training squad, will be missed for their level of experience when Antigua and Barbuda face Guadeloupe and Barbados in back to back Nations League fixtures here later this month.

This is according to newly-appointed assistant coach and former national defender, George “Sowa” Dublin, who said that although there is still a good blend of experience and youth within the training squad, there is no denying the impact the presence of some players could have.

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Veteran players Peter “Big Pete” Byers (left) and Tamorley “Ziggy” Thomas (right) have been omitted from a 30-man Benna Boys training squad

“I think that there will be some sort of issue in terms of experience but I think Quinton Griffith fully understands his role as the captain of the team and he’s fully experienced. There are a few players like Leroy Graham who played three of the last four games they played in the first round. There will be some new players being incorporated but also, I believe we will see some players coming in from England who are coming with some experience and who played in the last four games so I think we could mix these youths around these England-based players along with Quinton, and I think we should be able to have a good outfit,” he said. 

Dublin, who has served as head coach of the Montserrat senior men’s team for many years prior to returning to Antigua, admitted he did not have an opportunity to engage the veteran players ahead of the selection of the training squad but said they enjoy a good relationship.

“I was given the opportunity to take this job about roughly three weeks ago, and then it got to me having to talk to Leigertwood, and then having to select a team and look around the leagues to see what’s going on, so I haven’t gotten the opportunity to speak with anyone but these players are experienced guys and realize that there will come a time when this will happen. I know it’s not the ideal way to leave out senior players but sometimes it happens like that but the relationship with me and these players is a good one, so I don’t think there is no feeling being held,” the coach said.

Antigua and Barbuda Benna Boys will host Guadeloupe on March 23 in their League B, Group A clash before facing Barbados three days later on March 26. Both matches are scheduled for 3 pm at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

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