Each year the Banks Barbados International Masters Football Festival attracts many football nations and hundreds of visitors and therefore Government needs to come on board.
That’s the call from veteran Anthony “Cheetah” Johnson who managed the victorious Trinidad and Tobago team National Unit that captured the first ever over-50 title introduced this year in the recently concluded tournament.
Johnson explained that the committee members that include chairman Paul “Starsky” Wright, Adrian Donovan and Grant Trebble, have done an excellent job for the past 20 years making the event renowned and admittedly better than the one they have in his homeland Trinidad and Tobago.
“The best masters football teams come to play and this event is like a World Cup and I am also sure to big it up anywhere I go especially in Trinidad and the States. I want to tell the Government of Barbados to get involved in this football because it has been fantastic running this event these past four days and for me personally after missing out last year, it feels great to be back,” he said.
After 22 years of dedication as a coach and manager, Johnson told Barbados TODAY National Unity had won a total of 97 trophies over the years and therefore he was ready to hand over the baton.
He explained the secret behind Unity’s success came through great leadership, which he said was important. He said he had developed leadership skills from a young age and this had been the important factor behind his success as a coach and manager.
Michael Forde, the captain of Royalty Masters who won the over 40s category, was another local voice calling on the Government to play their part. He said: “It would be great to get the Government of Barbados throwing their support behind his event. But football is not as popular as some other sports and we need some money pumped into football because at the end of the day people leave their countries – the States, Trinidad, Canada – to come and play this worldwide tournament.
“Every year the crowd is growing because so many people come to watch masters football and we play a higher level of football compared to the youngsters. And people like to see the ex-national players because we play football the way it should be played,” Forde said.