By Neto Baptiste
Former technical director and coach of the senior men’s national football team here in Antigua, Zoran Vranes, said that if offered an opportunity to coach he would gladly accept the role.
The Serbian former football player, who is currently vacationing here, said he has dialogued with some principals of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) and has expressed his desire to return.
“We had some discussions [with] the general secretary [Rohan Hector] and some others who are in charge of football here and I just met the president [Everton Gonsalves] and we had a pretty good talk about football generally. But they don’t really need to make any decision as yet I express my feelings to come but of course now it is really up to them,” he said.
Vranes, who was responsible for the once touted Future Stars programme which pundits said served to develop some of the country’s top players in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, said that although there is room for improvement where it regards the standard of play, he is impressed with the progress of the FA where facilities are concerned.
“I went to see under-20 team two or three days ago to see the potential Antigua has now, and it was okay but, of course, they need plenty work but now Antigua has what I did not have in that time in terms of much better facilities in all aspects that football needs. So I think Antigua has a good chance now to step up if they organise themselves properly and if they have the support that they need,” he said.
The 71-year-old coach still believes he left Antigua at a time when his programme was just about to bear fruit.
“Unfortunately, I left at a bad time because I had just started to make great team from the under-17s for Antigua and there was a great future for that team and for football in Antigua, but you know what happened. I went to Trinidad to work with some clubs over there and national teams and then I was in St Vincent for three years and then to Trinidad again, and took their under-20 to the World Cup qualifiers,” he said.
Reports surfaced in January last year that Vranes was amongst a cadre of international coaches who had applied for a then vacant head coach position within the football association set-up.