There is a high level of commitment, discipline and enthusiasm like never before from members of the Barbados senior national men’s team, says Barbados Football Association (BFA) president Randy Harris.
As someone who has been around for a long time and served the sport in many capacities, Harris said this is the first time he has seen a Barbados team so committed to playing.
Speaking last evening on the local radio show called Penalty Spot, the BFA boss said that this was a sign of something spectacular in the making for local football.
“From what I have seen since we were given permission to practise here in Barbados, I have seen a high level of commitment, discipline and enthusiasm to win these two games. I think there are some positive incentives for the team and I think this has a particularly good bearing on how the players look at these two upcoming encounters,” Harris said.
He also praised national head coach Russell Latapy for the wonderful job he has been doing with the team.
“This is the first time that I have seen a Barbados team so committed to playing. I think head coach Russell Latapy has done a great job. I think that they are beginning to understand that if they want to play at a higher level there are certain things that they must put in place.
“The discipline and commitment from the team is perhaps the highest that I have ever seen. I think that is because regardless of names and history if you don’t perform at training, it is obvious that you wouldn’t be travelling with the team.
“I think this has done a lot to wake up the members and obviously as you said our professional players will be available, or more of them for this trip and that should be an extra pull for the team,” Harris explained.
The Bajan Tridents will depart the island on Sunday, May 30th for the Dominican Republic for round two of the Group D CONCACAF Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Barbados will compete in two fixtures starting on Friday, June 4th against hosts Dominican Republic and on Tuesday, June 8th against Dominica both at the Felix Sanchez Stadium.
“Their performance will give them some insight as to how their preliminary round of the Gold Cup will go. I think that is the cream on top of everything. And I hope and I pray that what they have been training, they will put into the games. Once that happens I believe that the quality of play from this team will be something that we have never witnessed before,” Harris added.
He noted that the team spirit is high, so too is the commitment to training and that has put Barbados’ football in a good place.
The BFA president also revealed that the board has unanimously agreed to give national players a stipend.
“I know that we are amateurs. It has been a positive thing that the board of the Barbados Football Association have agreed unanimously to give them monthly stipends during this program. That has made a difference because our amateur players now have something to look forward to.
“I believe our players have the courage, the creativity and they want to show the people in Barbados that they can perform. Also, it is a great opportunity to be in a global situation where people now outside of the Caribbean would be able to see their performances and be able to assess their quality of play.
“To be given an opportunity to get to that professional situation. It would warm my heart if I can get two or three players look at for professional football,” Harris said.
With two other young Barbadian footballers – Notre Dame goalkeeper Joshua James and Kickstart midfielder Janash Jaunai – being allowed to play with Hungarian clubs, Harris once again stressed the quality of the players.
“Barbados has shown the level of quality in all other areas of this society. There is no reason why football can’t follow that trend. What has really happened here is that once one or two are able to get an opportunity, they are opening the doors for others.
“At this time we have a number of young players who really have the potential to make it at that level. And the fact that we have a coach who has the experience of what it takes to develop players to that level has made a big difference,” Harris explained.
He also stated that Barbados’ players were in an amateur situation but behaving professionally and that makes quite a difference.
According to the BFA boss, Barbados has one of the most vibrant youth programs (Future Tridents) across all divisions which was started by former technical director Ahmed Mohammed.
“We have been doing things differently in order to uplift the quality of football and we realise that the earlier we started the better for us. Our Under-20 team that performed so well in 2019, they are products of this future Tridents program,” he said.
While acknowledging the hard work by the local governing body to enhance and develop local football, where the women were concerned, Harris admitted that was an area where the BFA had fallen short.
But he has given his assurance that they will look to work closely with the National Sports Council and the Emmerson Boyce Foundation for the revival of the women’s side of the game in Barbados.