By Neto Baptiste
First Vice President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) and head of the body’s women’s football committee, Gwen Salmon, has revealed that the FA is currently considering requests for friendly internationals as they continue preparations for both the FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifiers and the CONCACAF Nation’s League.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Salmon said matches for the senior women’s team could become available within a month.
“We have some friendlies starting in July so we will have to look and see if we are able to have them [overseas-based players] join us wherever we go. There are countries that are asking for friendlies and, as you know, your national teams have to play at least four friendly games per year if there are no competitions according to FIFA and we have those on schedule, so we will try to fit in everybody,” she said.
“I know Turks & Caicos has contacted us because they want friendlies with our under-17s and under-20s and we don’t have anybody as yet. With the seniors, I think St Kitts owes us a friendly match because we had hosted them [and] it is now time for them to host us so that is one we know we have in the books,” she added.
According to Salmon, although World Cup Qualifiers are slated to commence in September this year, a draw has not yet been made but CONCACAF Nations Cup matches are slated to start in November.
She assured that although sessions were periodically interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic that teams have been in preparation for some time now.
“The girls were constantly training since 2019 and we had stopped since Covid-19 and then we started training again but we had to stop because of an increase in the numbers. We are now training again so we have all the national teams with the exception of the under-15s are training right now about two or three times per week while the seniors are going three times per week,” she said.
“Those who come back home from college would be able to come and join the training. I’ve already had about three of them contact me already so as soon as they come they would be allowed to join the training,” Salmon added.
The ongoing pandemic, Salmon said, continues to negatively impact the regional and international youth schedules for both male and female tournaments.
“We had the under-15 boys that was cancelled in the last two weeks. We have under-17 girls, we have under-20 girls; so we just have to wait and see what’s happening due to Covid and as it gets closer to the tournament we will find out what’s happening. The only thing we have concrete so far is the women’s Nation League,” she said. Salmon is also head of the FA’s competitions committee and will be seeking re-election as first vice president of the association.