By Neto Baptiste
The overall development plan for football in Antigua and Barbuda includes the running of a schools’ programme, an under-15 league and more involvement with the numerous football academies spanning the length and breadth of Antigua.
This was revealed by technical director for women’s football, Lisa Cole, who said the football association’s technical staff has been working behind the scenes to put all the necessary things in place.
“We have, in the plans to create a U-15 league to work in the schools system and hopefully that is something the ministry will be up for, because if we can improve so that, if I’m a footballer in this country I know that from January to March I am doing a school league and if I am one of the top players I am also going to come to an academy two times per week. In addition to that, because I’ve been identified as someone who needs a little extra training and then from April is a break and then from May until to July, I am going to play in an ABFA league,” she said.
Cole, who was appointed to the role in 2019, said one of the key components to ensure that players between the critical ages of nine to 12 years old develops the proper skills needed to propel them forward.
“Primary objective for the ABFA for boys and girls is to look at what we do between those ages when football skills are easily picked up and is the programme happening at those ages and to develop the type of players we want to have to go and win games like we’ve just seen but if we don’t fix the bottom the top is not going to get better and that’s where our problem is. We are like, let’s improve training at the top and then nothing is happening down at the bottom so the same type of athletes are getting to 20 and still not prepared,” the coach said.
In a recent interview, Cole said the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has severely interrupted the FA’s programmes.