Change of course
BFA may review national team engagements
The Barbados Football Association (BFA) may soon have to start looking at limiting the number of regional tournaments in which the senior national squad competes.
So says the association’s president, Randy Harris, who admitted the proposed move has been fueled by the team’s recent poor performances as well as a lack of financial support.
“The truth is that going forward, we will have to decide which competitions Barbados will enter, as opposed to just entering each and every one,” Harris told Barbados Today during an interview today.
“Once that is established, we will then have to establish a plan and properly prepare for that event.”
His comments came as the Caribbean Football Union’s Caribbean Cup Finals kicked off in the coastal Jamaica resort town of Montego with Barbados yet again absent from the top eight teams in the Caribbean region.
The national team failed to make it past the qualification rounds for the competition, which also serves as a qualifier for both the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup as well as the Copa America Centenario, which will be held in 2016.
In the second round qualifiers last month in Haiti, Barbados finished bottom of Group 8. They opened with victory over St Kitts and Nevis but then suffered defeats to hosts Haiti and then French Guiana.
Barbados has never won the Finals and have failed to qualify on numerous occasions.
With a current FIFA ranking of 146, Harris has admitted the BFA will be looking at some new strategies in an effort to strengthen the national side.
“Right now, our national team is playing against professional footballers when they enter these competitions. We only have one professional footballer, and that is Emmerson Boyce who plays for Wigan,” Harris pointed out.
“We have to do a number of things to be competitive at that level, and one of those things will be to try to encourage those professionals who have Barbadian parentage to come and represent Barbados.
“We have to vigorously pursue those professional footballers who are playing outside of Barbados, but who are eligible to play for the national team,” he added.
Harris, who is half-way though his four-year tenure as president, said the BFA had identified some weaknesses at the domestic level, which first needed to be addressed if improvement was to be made.
One of those major issues he outlined, was the lack of properly trained coaches.
“Most of the football teams which compete in the Premier League do not have certified coaches, and that is proving to be a problem . . . because that means most of our players are playing at the highest league without proper preparation,” Harris contended.
“Without having all of our coaches in the Premier League certified, we cannot raise the standard of football in Barbados.
“From what I have seen around the Caribbean, our players are slightly more talented than those in the other islands, but we need to have a certain structures put in place if that is to translate into Barbados winning football matches.”
The Caribbean Cup Finals will feature the top eight teams in the region battling in two groups over the next eight days, for the honour of Caribbean champions.
Cuba are the title-holders.
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