Facilitating eligible Barbadians in the Diaspora to play football for Barbados is still very much high on the agenda of the Barbados Football Association.
The absence of overseas professionals in the Barbados team in the recent Caribbean Cup, as well as other matches contested by Barbados over the past year, has been very glaring, and the subject of some criticism.
But newly elected BFA president told Barbados TODAY that the policy of sourcing players of Barbadian heritage would continue to be part of the association’s overall strategy to enhance the sport in the island.
“Every week we usually get players of Barbadian ancestry seeking to find out what are the criteria required to play for Barbados. These types of players are important to the future, as they are exposed to high standards of football and have access to better areas of professional development,” Harris explained.
Other countries in the region, such as Jamaica, have intensified their efforts to source foreign-based players as a means of strengthening their national teams.
Harris told Barbados TODAY that presently first generation Barbadians born outside the country were eligible to play for Barbados. He noted, however, that there were second and even third generation Barbadians who had been calling and expressing an interest in national duty. He explained that this was something that would be looked at but stressed the BFA was very serious in moving Barbados’ football forward with both Barbadian-based players as well as those quality players who could meet existing qualification criteria. He said that in both situations, the players had to be fully committed to give of their best in the cause of Barbados’ football.
Several British-born Barbadians were involved in the island’s 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, playing a number of games in 2008. Among these were English Premier League side Wigan’s Emmerson Boyce, born in Buckinghamshire to Barbadians Lucille and Melvin Boyce, as well as Mark McCammon, formerly of Sheffield, who debuted for Barbados in the 2006 Caribbean Cup.
Of all the overseas-based players, Boyce has been the principal player who has always committed to playing for Barbados when not under club obligations. He was reportedly interested in playing in the ongoing Caribbean Cup but commitments for Wigan mitigated against it.
“We have made a lot of friends at high levels with respect to these players and it is just a matter of having the conditions in place to bring everything together,” Harris noted, with respect to accessing quality foreign-based players.
The Jamaica Football Federation recently announced that a three-man delegation would be visiting the United Kingdom next week on a hunt for players to shore up that country’s chances of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. That team is to comprise the president of the Jamaica Football Federation Captain Horace Burrell, head coach Theodore Whitmore and his assistant Alfredo Montesso.
The decision to recruit fresh foreign-based players comes on the heels of public criticism of the coaching staff after Jamaica struggled through their CONCACAF round to qualify for the final six-nation playoff next year.
“I’m travelling to the United Kingdom next week . . . with a view to interviewing a few Jamaican players who have indicated an interest in wearing the Jamaican colours. . . I know there have been a lot of criticisms levelled at the coaching staff. But we all have to remember that the coaching staff has to work with the players available to them,” he said.
Burrell added he wanted to meet with the overseas players, interview them and be satisfied that they demonstrated the level of commitment needed to play for Jamaica.
Some of the current players who have been on Barbados’ roster over the past year, such as Diquan Adamson, have had overseas training stints and trials in the United Kingdom and the United States, but none of them has as yet attracted a football contract. (WG)