National Youth Coach Vincent “Nabu” Samuel has been sacked as head coach of the Empire Football Club. Samuel, who has also coached Greenbay Hoppers and Old Road in the past, confirmed receiving a call Thursday morning from President of the Empire FC, Veron “Epilus” Edwards, informing him of an executive decision to sever ties with him as coach. Samuel said he anticipated the move and therefore holds no malice against the executive. “I must say that I am thankful to Epi for giving me the opportunity to basically, lead a club like Empire. I knew from the first of the first round there were certain individuals, from an executive prospective, were not happy I am there and coming from the Hoppers background and the sort of rivalry that we had before. It had begun to infiltrate the players where executive members were questioning our decisions, questioning the guys that we start,” he said.
After nine showings, Empire are at the bottom of the standings with just two points, seven adrift Tryum who are ninth in the standings with nine points. Samuel said it was never a matter of talent, but rather belief that has been their Achilles heel so far this year. “Mentally, I think some of the players are a little bit weak but having said that, I think that most of the blame has to be contributed [placed] on the man in charge.
I am fully responsible for what took place as far as that is concerned,” he said. “We have been losing the games basically in the last 10 to 15 minutes of every game and we tried as much as possible to work on the mental aspect of the players, but then it boils down to the fact that we were not closing out games and I have to be held responsible for that,” the coach added.
The first round performance is one of the worst in Empire’s history and had fans calling for Samuel’s departure some four matches into the competition. Revealing that he had previously been asked to resign, the coach said resigning was simply not an option.
“There are actually individuals that are at Empire as a direct result of me being at Empire, and for me to leave them there in that quagmire, as far as resigning is concerned, would have had a negative impact on what I stand for and that these players have trusted in me. So, I actually told them that the decision is theirs and I would respect whatever decision they make because I know of the situation,” Samuel said.
The Premier Division breaks this weekend for the hosting of the One Nation concert at the Antigua Recreation Ground (ARG). The competition is slated to resume on January 20 with a double-header.