Putting aside egos for the greater good of Barbados’ football has led to the return of former captain and forward Mario Harte, talented center-back Ricardo Morris and prolific midfielder Romario Harewood to the senior men’s national team.
In 2017 punitive action was taken by the Barbados Football Association [BFA] against Harte and Morris for playing out of season football which went against the rules and regulations set out by world governing body FIFA. Harewood has been out of the national setup for the past two years for reasons unknown.
However, a recent meeting between the players, BFA president Randolph Harris and technical director Ahmed Mohammed, resulted in all parties coming to a mutual agreement as Barbados face a must-win situation at home in their upcoming third match of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Nations League Qualifiers against United States Virgin Islands.
During his fourth training session with the team last night at the Barbados Football Association’s Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf, Harte told Barbados T: “There was a meeting between the president, the coaches, and technical director and they made the decision to bring me back about a month ago.”
Months ago, Harte expressed an interest in playing for Barbados but was apparently asked to apologize for participating in out-of-season football as the then captain of this country. But when questioned whether he made that apology during that meeting, Harte said: “It wasn’t a case of an apology but a mutual understanding by all parties that we could move forward and respect each other.
“I have a lot of experience, and I just want to pass that on and help the younger players as much as I can. The same way when I came in the team as a youngster, the older players like Jeffrey Williams, Norman Forde, Nobby Parris [John] and so many others help me along the way,” he said.
With current national captain and attacking midfielder Rashad Jules being ruled out from Sunday’s game against USVI, Harte should be the man wearing the captain’s armband considering he is the most capped player with over 60 games for Barbados.
And even though the 31-year-old said he was always open to the captaincy, if it didn’t happen it was still his intention to be a leader on the field against USVI with whom he is familiar having had the privilege of playing against them on a few occasions.
“We played them twice in a home and away leg, and the first leg they defeated us 1-0 at home after we missed two penalties. But when we travelled to the USVI, we outplayed them in every department and came out 4-1 winners. We respect the opponents, but I don’t think we should fear them. We should go out and play them seeing we are at home, we should go all out for the win don’t matter how it goes. We just have to ensure we get the win that the people of Barbados and the team were looking for a long time,” Harte said.
He added: “I have been training with UWI for the season, so my condition is good. It is more the mental state that I was worried about coming back into the team after what had happened. But I have put that behind me and just focusing on the game on Sunday and giving the people of Barbados a win.”
Barbados are yet to win a game in the CONCACAF Nations League having drawn their opening match 2-2 against Guyana and lost 3-0 to El Salvador in both of their away encounters.
However, BFA technical director Ahmed Mohammed is confident of a win on home soil against the USVI team of which he is the former coach. Ahmed told the media the game plan was to win. “We don’t want to disrespect the opponents especially these ones. But we know the opponents very well, so the boys are ready for this important game, and we are hoping to give the fans a victory at home.”
The game is scheduled for this Sunday, November 18 at 7.p.m at the AstroTurf.