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BARBADOS - women's football
HISTORY WILL BE made at the National Stadium tonight when the Barbados women's football team play their first international game against their counterparts from Antigua and Barbuda.
The match is slated to kick off at 6 p.m. at the conclusion of the Louis Lynch National Junior Athletics Championships. It will be followed by an under-21 men's game, also featuring Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda, at 8 p.m.
Not since the early 1980s when a Select Squad played against a visiting college side has a women's football team been assembled here in Barbados.
But over the past couple of years, there has been a revival of the women's game, with a competition at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, and the formation of the Barbados Women's Football Academy and the National Sports Council's squad.
Late last year, there were also a few matches involving select women's teams, while there was an exhibition game at the Valery playing field at the start of Brittons Hill out-of-season tournament, and another to usher in the 2006 domestic season at the National Stadium.
Noting that women's football "is growing by leaps and bounds", BFA president Ronald Jones made an appeal last week for football fans to come and support the ladies, who will be wearing national colours for the first time.
"Within a matter of months, they have really taken off, and again I want to invite persons to come out to that game on Sunday to see how far the women's game has gone in a very short period," he said.
Jones, however, noted that despite the strides made so far, it has not reached the level of that of Trinidad and Tobago or Jamaica.
"We are still in our infancy but if it continues to grow and to attract the kind of quality females that it is currently attracting, then the sky is beyond the limit," he said.
The Barbados team includes former quarter-miler Tonia Jordan, who attended the 2000 Sydney Olympics but now plays in midfield, the experienced Bonita Flores and Marva Browne, and former national table tennis player Julia Morris.
Exciting 18-year-old striker Tianna Hackett will lead the attack while schoolgirls Giselle Fields of Ellerslie will play as striker, and Queen's College's Joelle Gibson as defender.
Antigua and Barbuda
Players: Kelly Fritz, Alaina Mussington, Patrice Davis, Shannell Henry, Moria Murray, Shakima Benjamin, Iola Simmons, Karen Warner, Dominique David, Shironda George, Janine Joseph, Odeal Simon, Joella Potter, Eta James, Nikiesha Samuel, Joanne Shaw, Stacy Tonge, Shonette Simon.
Officials: Dianne Warren (manager), Chesley Browne (coach), Rowan Benjamin (coach).
Players: Cosette Brathwaite, Marva Browne, Sophia Downes, Giselle Fields, Bonita Flores, Joelle Gibson, Ruth Gill, Tianna Hackett, Tonia Jordan, Amanda Morris, Aronda Morris, Julia Morris, Lisa Small, Kerry Trotman, Ailsa Walcott, Sheldene Walrond, Tamisha Watson, Joy-Ann Welch.
Officials: Ytannia Wiggins (manager), Sasha Sutherland (assistant manager), Edward Smith (head coach), Richard Forde, Sandra Jones (assistant coaches), Desmond Grant (trainer), Susan Goodridge (medic).
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