International football returns to stadium
The National Stadium has passed the test. Time to see if our local footballers can do the same.
After four years in the wilderness, football fans will once again be getting a taste of international football at the Waterford venue.
Word of that has come from president of the Barbados Football Association (BFA), Randy Harris, who has revealed that the stadium has been given the go-ahead to host a World Cup qualifier on March 22, which will see Barbados take on the United States Virgin Islands (USVI).
Harris told Barbados TODAY in an interview earlier today it would be the first time the island would be hosting an international match since 2011, when Barbados also hosted a World Cup qualifer.
He said this was a testament to the hard work which had been put it on the outfield at the stadium to bring it up to scratch.
“Obviously I am very proud because the National Stadium is the home of football in Barbados and it’s good to see that we will be able to provide the local fans with a taste of international football.
“The Stadium has undergone some upgrades, especially as it relates to the outfield and the lighting, so we are very pleased that work has not been in vain and we have been given a passing grade,” Harris maintained.
The green light to host the contest was given by CONCACAF inspector, Christopher Craig, during his brief one-day stay on the island last week.
However, since then, there has been some issues surrounding the floodlights at the Stadium, which led to football being postponed last Thursday after a power failure.
That problem also affected the Barbados Relay Fair on Saturday and football on Monday, which saw the lights blanking out for a short while.
Harris, though, is confident that issue will be sorted out before next month’s match.
“While I am a bit concerned about the issue with the lights I have been assured that persons at the stadium are working to get it rectified,” he explained.
“So I have no doubt that by the time March 22 comes around everything will be in order.”
The BFA president said he would love to see Barbadians come out and support the home side as they battle to qualify for the 2018 World Cup which will be held in Russia.
Barbados is currently ranked number 142, while the USVI are ranked 197.
“It is a big advantage to be playing home and I really want the whole of Barbados to come and support the team.
“Right now we are in the rebuilding stage and the team really needs that support. We have some young and exciting players, and I’m sure they would appreciate it if the fans came out and supported them,” Harris acknowledged.
He said that in the days leading up to World Cup qualifier, matches in the Digicel Premier League would be halted so as to ensure that the field was in perfect condition.