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BDF get new blood

BFA president Randy Harris (centre), BDF captain Mario Harte (fourth left), BDF coach Asquith Howell (fourth right) and the new BDF players.

BFA president Randy Harris (centre), BDF captain Mario Harte (fourth left), BDF coach Asquith Howell (fourth right) and the new BDF players.

The Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme today unveiled six new contract footballers who will be on their books over the next three years.

At a media briefing this afternoon at St Ann’s Fort, Garrison, St. Michael, director of the BDF’s Sports Programme and former top Barbados athlete, Michael Jules, expressed delight at the addition of the players to the programme. All six could be in action as early as this coming weekend.

Jules introduced each player, giving some background on their football achievements as well as the teams with which they have been associated. The players are: mid-fielder Jamal Alleyne, 21; defender Akeem Browne, 20; defender Kemar Chase 20; †striker Rashad Jules 21: striker Shaquille Stuart, 20; and defender Romario Harewood, 18.

Jules noted that the players in the BDF’s Sports Programme came as close to professionals as any sportsman in the island could reach. He explained that the footballers would receive training, be paid a monthly stipend and would have their medical needs attended to.

President of the Barbados Football Association, Randy Harris, praised the quality of the programme which has been conducted by the BDF over the past few years and revealed that the BDF and the BFA had entered into a memorandum of understanding that would see the BDF lending its expertise to the training of Barbados’ national team.

Responding directly to a question posed by the media, Harris said he did not foresee any issues with members of the national team having a problem being a part of the highly disciplined regimen at the BDF. He said the BFA was also very keen on maintaining high standards of discipline and any footballer not fitting in the scheme of things would be left by the wayside.

Captain of the BDF Sports Programme team and national player, Mario Harte, said he had been impressed with what he had seen of the six players during practice and he expected them to do well during the premier league competition which recently started.

Coach Asquith Howell said he had adopted a three-phase strategy to his methods which had a heavy defence component. He stressed that one element which was always impressed on his players was that they should have fun playing football. He added that facilitating scholarships and other overseas opportunities was also part of the BDF’s remit. †

Jules said the BDF Sports Programme presently had 23 footballers on its books, as well as 18 cricketers, six boxers, one table tennis player and one track and field athlete. He added the programme would shortly be unveiling 10 contracted cricketers.

Harris also indicated that the BFA was working toward the acquisition of a technical director. (WG) † † ††

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