By Neto Baptiste
Antigua and Barbuda Football Association’s technical director, Rolston Williams, believes that preparations for the rescheduled CONCACAF leg of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers could start later this year with locally based players.
FIFA, this week, announced that the first round of the qualifiers which were slated for October and November this year will not take place in March next year.
In an interview with OBSERVER media, Williams said that although players may not be placed in camp before next year, some aspects of preparation could start within the next three months.
“I believe that any camp will have to be in the new year because it’s an expensive venture in terms of having players in a camp so that would most likely be in the new year. The tournament now, is going to take place in March so we have some time so sometime in the new year I think the camp will be held if there is going to be any camp because it depends on the coach and the ideas he is going to bring,” he said.
“I think that the local players are going to have to start to train before the new year because it’s a long time now since they haven’t been playing any football, so I think some training will have to take place this year,” he added.
The TD however reminded that the proper protocols must first be in place before any form of training could commence, adding that the FA’s protocols committee is still in the process of looking at the appropriate procedures.
“The recommendations from the committee in terms of the protocols would have to be looked at and put those recommendations in place first and foremost because as you know, football is still banned in Antigua as it pertains to competition so we have to get that out of the way first before we can even think about anything else so the protocols are going to be important so that is the first and foremost we have to look at,” he said.
Asked what process will be used to select players for a possible training squad given that no competitive football has been placed since March, Williams said a number of things will be taken into consideration.
“Well I think that you would have to look at the last season and pick players on terms of performances and there were some players who were already in the national team and we just have to look at their performance while they were in the national team and judge it off of that,” he said.
Antigua and Barbuda will contest Group A of the CONCACAF qualifiers alongside El Salvador, Grenada, US Virgin Islands and Montserrat. Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras have already qualified directly for the third round of the qualifiers.