By Neto Baptiste
With the opening of government schools slated for September 7, coordinator of schools’ football, Rowan Benjamin, believes that if given the opportunity, the sport could be played at a competitive level.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Benjamin said he was saddened after sports minister, Daryll Matthew, announced last week that school sports will not resume immediately.
“I was very disappointed because it appears that the question could have probably been answered in a different way to give us a chance, in terms of the schools’ football committee, to see if whether we could have schools league or not, because we’re sitting down there putting our plans together and so forth in terms of plan A and we were well into that and the interview put a damper on everything,” he said.
Benjamin, a former coach for the senior national men’s team, said the competition’s planning committee was looking at a number of possibilities where the hosting of the competition is concerned.
“We were looking at a different format in terms of having only one team per school, and that is male and female, and playing behind closed doors, so we were looking at four grounds we could play without spectators,” he said.
“We have a document we were working on and produced and so on, and as a matter fact, we were in the communities doing some training as the only unit to be in the community until one day, a police stopped one of our coaches,” the coach added.
In the absence of a competition, Benjamin said the body would look at hosting a number of skills events.
“We’ll be looking at things like freestyle juggling, speed dribble and things like that; heading in pairs for target. In terms of the groups, for the first time in Antigua, you’ll see soccer-robics and also physical exercise, and we will run it the same way as we did in the years gone by in the way we ran the chool league,” he said.
Matthew, last week, said the focus would be on getting students back into the classrooms and not so much on the return of school sports.