After three months of no football action because of the Coronavirus pandemic, Barbados’ senior national men’s team will restart training next week Tuesday at the Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) AstroTurf facility in Wildey, St. Michael.
BFA president Randolph Harris broke the news when he explained that with some level of normalcy back on the island and in the eventuality that Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) decides to play this year’s Gold Cup qualifiers, the Bajan Tridents would be ready.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Harris said he along with the management team held a meeting last night at the BFA headquarters with members of the senior men’s team. While there, the 28 players who are all part of the national set-up were informed of the protocols they needed to follow once they turned up to train.
“Basically, we want to start preparing the men’s team for the eventuality that CONCACAF who have to make a decision next month July about scheduling and formats for the Gold Cup and the World Cup. So, in consultation with the technical management, we have decided to start training from next week.
“What we have done last night is to invite all the players in the national training squad, the principal clubs that they belong to, and we had a walk through the protocols that would have to be in place in order to make this happen,” Harris said.
Barbados who is the League C (Group A) champions were expected to play host to Guyana in March for the CONCACAF qualifiers. But that all-important match to see who would qualify for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup has since been postponed because of the Coronavirus.
In order not to be caught off guard once CONCACAF gives the green light for the competition to resume, it is expected that two days a week – Tuesday and Thursday – training sessions will take place under the supervision of senior national men’s coach Russell Latapy and technical director Ahmed Mohammed.
Harris believes that the more than 24 players that are part of the current training setup are manageable at this time. The training times are 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and then 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and several protocols have been put in place.
“It is a number that we can manage here at the facility. We have a lot of the protocols in place and we have instituted based on the suggestions some new protocols to ensure we minimise any risk to the players and coaches.
“We have the thermometer at the gate, so everybody that enters must be registered so we can keep track. No spectators, buddies or friends will be allowed to enter the facility during the training. We have hand sanitizers at seven different stations including the dressing rooms. We will be doing all of the laundries for the training gear at the headquarters here. We have the social distancing protocols in place, in the changing room we have them marked. As far as the actual training, they would be split into groups and be using four sections of the field.”
The BFA president noted they would be doing some light technical work and said it was important for the players to be well-conditioned just in case they were called upon.
Vice-captain of the senior men’s team Hadan Holligan expressed delight with the news and said he couldn’t wait for next week to get back on the field. “It is a great feeling. As a footballer I want to be playing all the time, so not playing football for three to four months doesn’t feel right at all. Going back out there on Tuesday, I can’t wait.”