By Neto Baptiste
Former national striker Everton “Batow” Gonsalves has been elected for a fourth straight term as President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA).
On Monday night, Gonsalves was re-elected by a vote of 32-28 ahead of lone challenger and former executive member Barbara Coates during the FA’s electoral congress at the Sir John E St Luce Finance and Convention Centre on Factory Road.
Speaking with Observer media following the vote, Gonsalves described the triumph as unbelievable while crediting a higher power for his success.
“It was unbelievable and God must be given all the thanks and praise for last night’s victory. There are serious challenges lying ahead and I hope to adopt an all-inclusive approach where all the stakeholders and lovers of football will have to come together and give of their service to ensure that football continues to grow and develop in this country,” he said.
However, it took two rounds of voting before a president was duly elected after Gonsalves failed to achieve the required two-thirds majority following the first ballot, winning by a 35-25 margin. However, the former Villa Lions player won the second round which required only a majority count in his favour.
Gonsalves said his executive will move straight into plans for the return of local football and other pressing matters.
“Immediate plan is to look at the entire structure of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association, the return to football, revisiting our strategic plan to ensure that we are still operating in accordance with that and to at least, look forward to seeing our international obligations that we have at hand and how we could be in a position to ensure that those are carried out smoothly,” he said.
Also re-elected for a fourth term were the three vice presidents, namely Gwendolyn Salmon, Daryl Michael, and Akeilah Hillhouse.
There were four newcomers for the position of member in Jason Knight, Cliff Williams, Darise James and Delta Browne. Longstanding member and head of the ABFA Referee Committee, Rolston James, was re-elected.