By Jonteau Coppin
Director of the Barbados Soccer Academy, Jabez “Jack” Bovell, has called for the resignation of the leading men in Barbados’ Football, after the Tridents’ embarrassing 8-1 drubbing at the hands of Bermuda last Friday in the CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifiers at the DRV PNK Stadium in Florida.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Bovell suggested that the national team had declined from a place of promise in the early 2000s. “It is like a small bakery that makes fantastic bread, garnering a lot of sales, but then expanding and it begins to struggle. In 2021, you have Astro turfs, more resources from FIFA, more administrative staff, better wages for the coaches but the BFA (Barbados Football Administration) is not results-oriented like it was in 2000. I am so disappointed,” he said, identifying the Barbados “head coach” [Russell Latapy] and “BFA president” [Randy Harris] as the persons who should quit.
Bovell, who has worked in the Barbados football set-up with the under 23s, under 20s and under17s, stated that the 8-1 result was not a surprise to him because he had seen it coming based on previous performances and team selections.
“I could pick a team around Barbados that could beat this national team. The money that is being given to Laptapy could be given to five or six local coaches. If you are picked to be the coach of a national team and you do not get results, you should resign. There should also be an investigation into how this was allowed to happen. (Local) clubs deserve an answer,” the football administrator said.
The coaches he said he would like to see replace Latapy are Renaldo Gilkes or Anthony ‘Daisy’ Clarke.
However, UEFA certified football coach Roland Butcher had a different opinion and noted that Barbados’ thrashing by Bermuda was just a blip that distracted from their recent good results.
“The discontent around the manager’s job says a lot about the support in the Caribbean. Whenever we lose in any sport, fans want people to lose their jobs. The team has been doing okay recently for where we are as a (footballing) nation,” Butcher said.
However, he stressed that if Barbados wanted to become better, they would do well to take a leaf out of Iceland’s book.
“Iceland have roughly the same population as us (fifty-five thousand more than us) and they have competed in a World Cup and a European Championship with only three months of domestic outdoor football annually. The way they have done that is by ensuring coaches are well qualified. The lowest qualification you can have to even coach kids from five years old in Iceland is a UEFA B licence. When that happens throughout the system, you are going to produce players that are technically and tactically good across all age groups. We need to raise the standards of our coaches,” he stated.
Butcher, who played semi-professional football in England in his heyday and also worked with Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers during his time at Reading, also pointed to the continued reluctance of the Barbados Football Association to implement his coaching manual, Attaining Excellence: Caribbean Soccer Manual, which he said was tailor-made for developing footballers in the Caribbean.
He lamented Barbados’ refusal to acknowledge their footballing heritage which he added was applauded elsewhere in the world.