By Neto Baptiste
Government senator and President of the Pigotts Sports Club (PSC), Bakesha Francis-James, will contest the next Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA).
Francis-James is expected to vie for a vice president position as part of a proposed slate headed by current ABFA floor member Barbara Coates who is seeking to dethrone incumbent and former national striker, Everton Gonsalves.
Speaking on the Good morning Jojo Sports Show, Francis-James said she accepted the invitation to join Coates’ team after hearing her plans for football should she successfully win the now overdue vote.
“We [Pigotts Sports Club] were very elated and enthused by the comprehensive programme she had put together to implement when that time comes. I was very elated when she asked me that question about running for third vice president on her slate,” she said.
“I thought about it for a moment and I said to myself that although I have respect for the president [Everton] Batow Gonsalves because I look up to him and especially my son because he had been with my son for a while, but Batow has served three terms and I think it is time to give someone else a [chance] and I am for women power. We need to see more women dominating that decision-making table,” she added.
Coates, who recently made the announcement of Francis-James’ involvement, said the senator is passionate about all sports and wants to see positive changes in the way the game is administered.
“Bakesha and I have known each other from football. She is a mom like me, a person who is extremely dedicated to whatever she goes into; she is committed and she is fearless. She is the president of the Pigotts Sports Club and we are extremely happy to have her on board and it is obvious that she sees also, the need to have that level of improvement where football [and] sports is concerned in Antigua,” the presidential hopeful said.
The ABFA elections, constitutionally due in March this year, has been delayed owing to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Coates, who is confident that she and her team can successfully take the reins of football, is hoping that the electoral congress can be held before the end of the year.
“Well, we know for sure we must have that two-month notice [of the election] so we anticipate that it should be taking place by October or November. I would like for it to happen this year but whenever it happens we are going to be ready. We will just continue to speak to the clubs and we hope that the clubs would want the elections. What else can we do? FIFA is already watching so maybe FIFA would step in, we don’t know, but the reality is that we will just take it as it comes,” she said. The other members of Coates’ slate are Derrick Edwards, Ivor Luke, Arlene Josiah, Curtis Charles, Anna Lynch, Michael Douglas and Pat Spencer.