Former national football captain and Wigan Athletic legend Emmerson Boyce has arrived on the island to fulfil his promise of assisting the Barbados Football Association (BFA) with developing the sport locally, particularly the women’s side of the game.
The only black Caribbean player to have the honour of lifting the English FA Cup as captain in 2013 while playing for Wigan Athletic, Boyce said a long time ago that his dream was to assist football in Barbados in whatever way he can.
During an interview with Barbados TODAY, Boyce revealed that for some time now he has been in discussion with various stakeholders such as the Minister of Sport Dwight Sutherland and BFA president Randy Harris as it relates to football development in Barbados.
Having completed his coaching badges and about to establish the Emmerson Boyce Foundation for the first time here in Barbados, Boyce said it was now time for action. He kicked off his first session this evening at the BFA’s artificial turf in Wildey with the women’s national team.
“I want to give something back to Barbados and I spoke to Randy over the last couple of years and he always wanted me to get involved. He talked about the women’s program and how I can help develop it.
“And for me, it is not so much about developing women’s football but also the education part as well. So, anything football related that I can get people involved, women and girls involved and getting them into the education part of it, is going to be fantastic. Not just for myself but for everybody involved and to raise the women’s game is going to be massive,” Boyce said.
He explained that the intention would be to work on various aspects of the game to develop the players. Boyce noted that it will require a combination of skills to take the women’s game to the next level but said it was not impossible.
He pointed out that the idea was to get everybody involved in the entire process. He explained: “As a country we got to embrace it. I am hoping to start my foundation here as well and for me, I am excited about that and it is about getting everybody involved. From the government, the BFA, just everybody that is going to support this project.
“It is about allowing the next generation. Everybody loves sport and from my experience playing in the premier league over nine years, over six hundred games, if I can give something back to the community it is going to be fantastic and I can do it through football. So we want to get more and more girls involved and fingers crossed, more people would come out and support this project.”
The talented right-back who recently signed on for Ashton Town is in Barbados for the next two weeks until Friday, October 30. The England-based player also brought along a few members of his team.
They are former right-back Brendon Batson who was the first black man to represent Arsenal football club. He will also be doing some coaching alongside Boyce. Then there is Janie Frampton, one of the first females to referee in men’s professional football in England. Boyce said Frampton has a wealth of experience and will share her knowledge and expertise with local referees.
“We came here with a serious plan and we are hoping everyone can embrace it and come along with the journey,” Boyce added.
During this year’s BFA elections many of the candidates spoke on the state of the women’s game and the Randy Harris-led administration has responded through Boyce and his team who are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with the BFA next week Tuesday, October 27 to seal the deal.
When asked about the possibility of Barbados’ women possibly making it to the World Cup stage one day, Boyce said in his eyes the idea was not far-fetched. He insisted if the players believe it, they can achieve it.
Sharing his personal experience, he said: “People thought that Wigan Athletic wouldn’t win the FA Cup and in 2013 we went against all odds and did it. If we believe it, we can achieve it and there is a lot of hard work to be done but everybody’s got to have the right attitude. If you don’t dream big, you can’t get big.”