The first bilateral sporting agreement between Barbados and Argentina has afforded the national Under-17 football team an educational and training trip to commence in December at Boca Juniors Football Club.
Minister of the Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King along with Barbados Football Association president Randolph Harris met Wednesday afternoon with Argentina’s ambassador Gustavo Pandiani at his residency at the Lucene Building, Hastings, Christ Church to promote the Sports Co-operation Agreement between the two countries.
During his opening remarks, Pandiani who took up the position as ambassador nine months ago said he intended to do everything in his power to work closely with the Ministry of Sport. The process has already begun and Pandiani revealed that former Barbados and England cricketer Roland Butcher was currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina, teaching cricket.
“In December we will have a beautiful opportunity for these great group of athletes and footballers. This opportunity is important to highlight that both Argentina and Barbados, we are working together in culture, in sports,” said Pandiani who sang the praises of Minister King, “We feel privileged to have our counterpart in the person of John King who has been not only generous but also very demanding at the same time.”
The agreement is expected to be finalized next week with the signatures from King, Pandiani and Harris that will bind the nations together as Barbados celebrate 50 years of bilateral ties with Argentina.
The ambassador said: “It is a general agreement to touch our possibilities of co-operating but especially to put these kids and all other athletes on the island in a better position thinking about the future.”
In August Barbados had the privilege of hosting tango dancers from Argentina and King during his brief remarks explained that what was happening now was part of what was to come soon.
He said: “Co-operation between countries on a governmental level is fantastic, but what is even more impressive is when you have that co-operation on the ground, person to person. And I think this is just a wonderful opportunity for them to experience more of what the Caribbean and South America have to offer.”
Harris, president of the Caribbean Football Union and vice-president of Confederation of North, Central American, Caribbean Association Football [CONCACAF] in thanking the Argentina ambassador and Minister King encouraged the public to follow their lead and give support.
The national Under-17 team has started to put in a lot of work as they prepare for the 2026 World Cup and any support offered would assist towards that goal.
“I want to appeal with the public to follow the lead of the government and the embassy of Argentina in supporting these young men to achieve their vision and objective of representing Barbados not only at the regional level but hopefully we can play at the FIFA level. I believe if we get the support of people at large that this team will make it to the World Cup.
“To the youngsters, I think this is the most significant opportunity that was ever afforded to footballers in Barbados. To get an opportunity to visit a team like Boca juniors which is recognized universally as one of the top teams in the world. I want to say I hope they make the most of the opportunity, work hard and it affords them the opportunity to see how far they have to go regarding preparation and development if we want to make it to the top,” Harris said.