Tom Curtis Resigns

The former Antigua & Barbuda technical director and head coach Tom Curtis, seen here flanked by ABFA President Everton Gonsalves (left) and ABFA General Secretary Gordon Derrick, resigns from coaching duties. (Photo by Johnny JnoBaptiste)

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Public calls for his sacking coupled with harsh criticism over his coaching methods played no part in his decision to resign, with immediate effect, as technical director and head coach of both the Antigua & Barbuda Benna Boys and the privately owned Antigua Barracuda FC.

This is according to England-born coach, Tom Curtis, who announced yesterday that he is no longer in charge of the country’s senior team and was leaving for his homeland.

“I will be leaving my post as the technical director of the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) with immediate effect. I need to move on and look as my future as an individual,” he said.

“I have really enjoyed my time here and would like to thank everyone for their support they have given me, but I came to that decision over the past few days and I would like to reiterate my thanks to the executive and to the players and the coaches and certainly the supporters for giving us a real good effort in trying to qualify for the World Cup 2014.

“Obviously, you are going to get criticism from people and from media but to be honest it is not something that has influenced any sort of decision. I am very happy with the job I’ve done and I believe the association is as well; so I don’t think an outcry from one or two people about substitutions and team selections or anything like that has affected my decision,” Curtis added.

The revelation comes just one week after the completion of Group A action in the CONCACAF leg of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in which Antigua & Barbuda finished at the bottom of the table with just a single point.

Antigua & Barbuda’s only point came via a goalless draw with Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz here while they lost to the USA and Guatemala during home and away encounters.

ABFA President Everton “Batow” Gonsalves said his administration will be looking to build on Curtis’ successes going forward.

“At the end of the day, how do you measure success? We would have been most successful if we had qualified for the other round but we have been more successful than any other administration in the history of Antigua & Barbuda and we are happy with that,” Gonsalves said.

“We are not going to sit on our laurels; we will have to continue without you, but because of where we are and what we have done, I am sure we would be able to find an adequate replacement for the long term development.

“As an executive, we will have to sit down and look at a caretaker situation because, as you know, the Caribbean Cup is coming up shortly and so I don’t believe, in the whole scheme of things we would be able to attract a full time technical director as we speak,” he added.

Questioned as to whether Curtis’ sudden departure would affect the preparation of the senior team ahead of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Caribbean Championships, General Secretary Gordon “Banks” Derrick said this should not be the case.

“The guys are playing with their local clubs but obviously when it is time to gather the team back together now and get them fine-tuned going into the tournament, we would have had to have had the coaching staff interim, in place by them so they could take it from there,” Derrick said.

“Suffice to say though, the work that Tom has done is excellent and you can’t just lose knowledge overnight. So even though we don’t know who the new head coach would be as yet, when that person comes in he is going to find that a structure is there, players understanding their roles in different positions, and once that person brings their philosophy, I am confident that the players would be able to adjust and continue playing and building on what they have learnt,” the general secretary added.

Dubbed “The Road to Rio,” Antigua & Barbuda’s bid to qualify for the finals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, ended in a 4-1 loss to Jamaica last Tuesday.

The result meant that Jamaica and the USA advanced from Group A and into the group of six as they seek births into the final round of the world’s biggest football competition.