By Neto Baptiste
Individuals from at least two clubs gathered outside the offices of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) technical and training center on the Sir Sydney Walling Highway on Thursday, as they protested what they claim are unaddressed issues negatively impacting the sport here.
Among them was President of the Liberta Sports Club and former West Indies fast bowler, Kenneth Benjamin, who told Observer media that individuals are frustrated with the manner in which the organisation continues to ignore its members.
“For 20 months there has been no congress but yet still they want to start a league and we know once the league starts there will be no congress and so they are just toying with the clubs,” he said.
“These people believe that the football is theirs and they don’t have any respect for the authorities at the club level and for the players themselves, all they want to do is have it their way and so that is very critical. The Covid monies, 1.5 million and no accountability and also, when you look at what has happened is that they take the constitution for a football because they have changed the auditors without even the clubs knowing and all of that is unconstitutional. The president hasn’t been seen for 20 months and still they want people to believe that everything is well and ok with football in Antigua and Barbuda. “
An Ordinary Congress, originally scheduled for October 30, was first postponed to November 11 due to the unavailability of the General Secretary, Rohan Hector. The meeting was further postponed to December 15 for the same reason.
Benjamin said that with the FA’s Premier Division set to kick off on November 25, it is highly unlikely that the meeting will materialise.
Asked if he was disappointed with the turnout, Benjamin said that his main focus is to bring awareness to the issues.
“We have a lot of cowards in Antigua. They feel aggrieved but they are afraid to come out and let people know who exactly is behind all of this bad feeling and so on, but I am not one of those individuals. I believe it is very important for the football association to know that I am not in support of the way that they’re managing football in Antigua and Barbuda so the support doesn’t matter, it is the awareness.
“I am just hoping that the relevant people around the region, even at the level at FIFA, can see that there are people in Antigua in terms, players and clubs who are not who are not happy with the irresponsibility and the incompetency of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association,” he said.
Benjamin was later joined by former national striker and coach, Derrick “Pretty Boy” Edwards and former national and current Liberta coach, Rowan “Porridge” Benjamin at the protest.
Efforts to get a comment from the acting president of the ABFA, Daryl Michael proved futile after Observer media was told that he was in a meeting and could not comment at the time. Efforts to reach Michael later in the day also yielded no results.