There is an old joke in local football circles that may or may not be true, but it goes that a team of the greatest football talent Barbados had available at the time showed up for a match against a much weaker opponent.
The opposing squad was the poorest set of footballers ever assembled to combat this team of stars.
However, the manager of the visiting star-studded team noticed that the opposing manager was smiling and extremely upbeat.
He went over and asked, “Why are you smiling, are you mad??! We have the best of the best against your paltry side.”
The opposing manager replied, “Yes, you have all of the great players but the referees are from this village.”
That, in a nutshell, is Barbados football currently.
While we are thrilled to see the premier league restarted and a kind of knock-out competition, there remains lingering questions about the administration.
Beleaguered and embattled General Secretary of the Barbados Football Association (BFA) Edwyn Wood tendered his resignation on May 17 after much gaffes.
His latest came in comments made in another section of the media where he alluded to a situation in which the member clubs of the BFA had seemingly lost all confidence in the current administration, as seen by many of them not attending the two Annual General Meetings called last month.
Wood said at the time: “We operated under the new statute, so we didn’t need a quorum, so to speak. We had 16 members so the meeting went ahead.”
Let that sink in for a minute. Out of 64 clubs registered, only nine showed up for the first meeting and 16 at the next.
So where does that leave our local football? Currently, we are sitting in the doldrums of the FIFA rankings at 167.
Truth be told, it was a sad sight on March 26, 2023, to see a Barbados senior men’s national team – thanks to video provided by their media officer – jumping up and celebrating a 2-1 win over Antigua in the locker room after their last group game of the Concacaf Nations League, League B in St John’s.
Mind you, we finished the group stage with the least points and were a non-factor in the tournament. The images of these guys celebrating only solidified the state of our football.
Internal decisions also have dealt a death blow to football, as for no explained reason during the height of the Barbados Cricket Association season, the BFA decided to start the knockout competition on shared fields with limited, if any, lights. They also decided to make it a home-and-away series which also stretches out the already too long amateur domestic season.
BFA officials came out in the press lamenting the challenges, but if you fail to prepare then prepare to fail.
Over the last few days, we have also seen pleas for help on social media for cancer-stricken former national player Dishon “Eto” Howell and Michael “Lil Mike” Emdee who seems to require psychiatric help.
This leaves one to wonder why there is no source of support from the BFA for these former players when the need arises.
Yes, it is true that the BFA recently made a presentation to Howell’s family from the gate receipts from a Sunday evening game, but honestly, the fan attendance at Wildey can barely generate any meaningful contribution.
To BFA president Randy Harris, we say that football is still the most popular sport in Barbados. Just look at the number of people who were glued to their televisions for the Champions League semifinals.
Sometimes you need to step back and analyse the situation and take stock.
Several of your council members have resigned during your tenure; now your General Secretary has stepped down.
The ball is now in your court Mr Harris to act for the good of the game.