Gomes buoyed by emergence of young talents, dubs recent domestic football season a success

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Technical director for football in Antigua and Barbuda, Sowerby Gomes (center), has given the standard of play in the 2023/24 domestic competitions a passing grade.
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By Neto Baptiste

Antigua and Barbuda Football Association’s technical director, Sowerby Gomes, said he was heartened by the number of young talents that were on display during the 2023/24 domestic season and more so, in the Premier Division.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Gomes said the large number of youth players coming to the fore during this season’s domestic programme is evidence there is growth in the sport.

“In this particular season the teams had some of the youngest players playing at this particular level and not just one or two but most teams had quite a number of young players and as a result of that, we are able now to see, at out under-19 Youth Premier League, that these various teams are having the young players being very competitive and playing at a high standard so I think that is the hallmark of where we’re at,” he said. 

In critiquing the standard of play witnessed throughout the season, the former national defender described it as ‘very competitive’.

“Our aim is to bring it down to 12 but we are on a road map of doing so, and so this year we are coming down to 14 and then the next year we will come a little further down, but 16 tiers are definitely too much at our Premier Division level knowing the number of teams and players we have across the country,” Gomes said. 

The TD went on to agree with a decision to gradually reduced the number of teams in the Premier Division from 16 teams.

“There is nothing as it relates to the competitiveness that I would change because I think that what the Grenades FC would have done in terms of carrying a season that was very competitive and head coach Lenny Hewlett would have gone through a season where right up before his last two games, would have had a 100 percent record before losing to FC Aston Villa and drawing in their last game so it speaks to the level of competitiveness,” he said.

All Saints United captured this year’s Premier Division while Potters Tigers, Five Islands and Attacking Saints were promoted to the top flight. Freeman’s Village Scorpions, FC Master Ballers and Urlings were elevated to the First Division.

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