By Neto Baptiste
England-based midfielder and a former captain of the Antigua and Barbuda Benna Boys, Joshua Parker, believes former teammate turn coach, Justin Cochrane, could bring a lot to the role of senior national coach If given the opportunity.
Speaking recently on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Parker revealed that Cochrane, who currently coaches at the national youth level in England, had shown interest in the past but was not successful in his bid to assist the then coaching staff of the Benna Boys.
“He would bring one, experience as a player and two, a very high level of experience as a black coach because in England, you’re probably as aware as I am that they don’t tend to get the recognition or opportunity that other ethnicities might so for Justin to be recognized by an England senior team manager as a very good coach, that speaks volumes and it should make us very proud that he is from Antigua,” he said.
“It should make us proud that you’ve got Gareth Southgate saying one of the best coaches around, is Justin Cochrane and he travels with the under-21s and sometimes with the first team. We had the opportunity to have him as part of our set up, maybe he wasn’t ready for it at the time but Justin has never said he is not willing to help,” he added.
It is unclear as to whether Cochrane applied for either the head coach or the technical director position advertised by the Antiguan and Barbuda Football Association last year.
Cochrane currently coaches the England under-21s. He has also held positions with the under-15, under-16 and under-17 teams.
Parker, who recently said he is willing to represent Antigua and Barbuda in upcoming World Cup qualifiers, added that the ongoing pandemic would not be a hindrance to him and other England-based players.
“It wouldn’t be hard for us to come over there and play in a bubble because we are doing that already. My team, we have to turn up 15 minutes before training, we are socially distancing during training, we have to do a corona test every day so we are very must at the professional end of this whole COVID thing and like I said, everything is at a very high level because we are playing elite football,” the player said. Antigua and Barbuda will contest Group A of the CONCACAF qualifiers alongside El Salvador, Grenada, Montserrat and the US Virgin Islands.