By Neto Baptiste
The family of ailing former national and Parham footballer, Eustace “Barba” Ferrance, yesterday received a monetary donation from the newly-formed group, Football Past Players Support Inc., which is intended to help get the former defender to Trinidad for medical treatment.
The donation fittingly took place at the Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG) where Eustace made his name as a player, and was accepted by his sister, Valrie Ferrance.
“I am happy that the organisation saw it fit to help Barba and help the family with this timely donation, so I want to say thank you. For now, he is not doing so well, and he is at the hospice presently, and we’re hoping to have him sent off to Trinidad very soon,” she said.
The player, a few months ago, was reportedly diagnosed with viral encephalitis or inflammation of the brain caused by a virus. He had been hospitalised for some time before being moved to the St. John’s Hospice.
President of the Football Past Players Support Inc., Fitzgerald Semper, said the body felt the need to come forward in support of someone who has given so much to the game and to his country as a player.
“This is the reason why this organisation was formed in the first place, to help past football players and even present football players who find themselves in difficulty, and are in need of assistance, whether it is financial or any other assistance that we could offer; and so we heard of Barba’s illness and we understand that he is seriously ill, and when people are sick, they need assistance, especially financially,” he said.
“We thought it would be good to come together and put some funds together. We are not really up and running as yet as it pertains to gathering funds, but we were able to gather some funds together that we think would help the family of Mr. Ferrance as they look about his medical expenses,” he added.
Semper went on to add that the foundation’s support for Eustace goes beyond financial.
“Our prayers are with him, and when Ivor Luke called me about his situation, one of the first things we did is pray, and then we sought other ways in which to help. We believe in prayer, and we also believe in tangible assistance, and so we do wish Mr. Ferrance a speedy recovery and we pray that God will toughen him and allow him to get back on his feet as soon as possible,” he said. Eustace won several Premier Division titles with the Parham Football Club in the 90s and is heralded as one of the smoothest defenders in the game during his tenure.