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The Barbados Advocate
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BARBADOS - 2008 looks bright for BFA

Date February 05, 2008 Compliments of the Nation News

I HAVE a gut feeling that this will be a very successful year for local football.

Okay, I'll confess that's what I hope. And evenso, why shouldn't it be a great one? Last year was perhaps the best we have had in a very long time, especially in the Digicel Premiership.

For much of the campaign the title

could have been split

in four or five but the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) prevailed

in the end.

Actually, I think their success aptly summed up what happened. I believe, finally, the BDF seemed to be part of football's mass movement of integration.

There was a time when you couldn't be sure about their commitment to local football. It was not clear whether their interest was more about grooming players for the overseas market than about having a strong influence on the local landscape, especially in respect of the

national team.

I remember times when national coaches pleaded with the BDF authorities to make players available for national selection.

Not only that. It didn't seem as though they had a fan base outside of their own ranks but all of that seemed to change last season. I think it's great for the sport.

Keen action

One thing is certain, the other teams

will be gunning for their title. You know what

they say about the head that wears the crown! In essence, I expect the premiership to be just

as competitive as it was last season.

Still, I expect it will be difficult to dethrone the BDF. I won't be surprised if Gall Hill's young side comes closest to taking the crown. Paradise's return to the top

league will also add

to the competitive

edge because they are bound to be keen

to make an immediate impact and make

up for lost ground.

They will also be striving to avoid

making the same mistakes that caused their demotion in the first place. Who will ever be brave enough to rule out the evergreen Notre Dame or the resurgent Britton's Hill?

In the midst of all this will be the country's participation in the World Cup qualifiers.

US in way

The first part of the plot will be to get past Dominica in the first round and then climb and conquer a CONCACAF Everest called the United States.

The last time the two met in this tournament, we were humiliated. Hopefully, if Barbados overcome Dominica the Barbados Football Association (BFA) will be able to acquire all of the overseas-based players they need. It will be a must.

I am sure the association would be able to solve the problems they had in recruiting the players for the first leg against the Dominicans at Windsor Park today.

The key to everything will be the stability and efficiency of the association's administration. Their capabilities would have been weakened with the departure of former administrative officer Patrick Beckles. He wasn't perfect but still a tower of strength in the association's organisational and strategic process.

The sooner the association employs a general secretary on a full-time basis the better to fill the void

created by Beckles' departure. I know the world governing body, FIFA, stipulated some years ago that the secretary's post be

a paid one.

I am not aware that the BFA has taken up the option as yet but they may need to make that move now.

Sound, stable governance can help

to ensure the kind of season I think football will have this year.


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