GOING GLOBAL WITH ANTIGUA FOOTBALLTuesday 28th February 2012
President of the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association, Everton “Batow” Gonsalves has been named as member of the Organizing Committee for FIFA U-20 World Cup.
This follows Gonsalves’ appointment to the CONCACAF normalization committee set up after the resignation of FIFA’s Vice President Austin Jack Warner.
The U-20 World Cup Committee is the second largest of the governing body’s committee with the FIFA World Cup Committee being the biggest.
In receipt of his appointment Gonsalves expressed his appreciation to the FIFA and President Sepp Blatter.
“It is indeed a humbling experience to be appointed as a member of the Organizing Committee for the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
“I look forward to playing my part as we continue to raise the already high standard of FIFA even higher for the game and the world.
“Please express my gratitude to our esteemed President, Mr. Blatter and I wish you all (FIFA) a blessed and healthy 2012,” Gonsalves stated.
The U-20 World Cup will kick off in Turkey next year and Gonsalves is one of two members from the Caribbean named to an extremely diverse team expected to organize the first class event.
Venold Coombs of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the other Caribbean member, named to the 21-man team from across the globe.
While Gonsalves is thrilled about the appointment, he credits the work being done in local football that drew the attention of FIFA executives and thus the selection.
“This appointment is more about the teams, clubs, executive members and fans of football here in the country than anything that I have done personally,” Gonsalves said.
“When one looks at what we have been doing in football in Antigua & Barbuda even before I got into office one would realize that we have made tremendous strides in the sport.
“After taking office I continued to build on the strong foundation the previous administration built and now at 84th in the world and a professional team on show, we have steadily improved.”
Last year Antigua & Barbuda unveiled the Barracudas into the USL, the first professional team to make any significant impact on a national scale.
Over that same period, the national team, the flagship of football in the twin island state, improved its international ranking ahead of any other national team in world football.
The national team, now preparing for the semis of the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifiers moved from 170 to 84, an improvement that drew international attention.
“There is no doubt that my appointments are due to what we are doing here,” said the Antiguan president.
“It’s obvious that FIFA would like me to bring my experiences to these committees so they can learn from our experiences and that’s a true honour.
But it’s not just about giving for Goansalves.
He is looking to learn all he can as he participates in a global environment in order to bring back new ideas for the continued progress of the local sport.
“These opportunities will allow me to learn the ins and outs of FIFA, which is a world class organization and I can bring those experiences and implant them at home,” Goansalves stated.
“The way we administer the sport and present ourselves will be improved for the rest of the world to see.
“That will impact the entire national football fraternity in a positive way.
According to the president, the future of the sport in Antigua & Barbuda is extremely bright and he looks ahead to its continued success.
“Our Grassroots program, the Coerver Coaching Courses which includes the Professional Development Coaches Course, our female and youth development courses are continue to improve the overall sport,” Gonsalves said.
“The future of football is fantastic and with our CEO (Gordon “Banks” Derrick) making a claim on the regional scene there is no doubt that we are on the right path on a national level.”
Undoubtedly, Antigua & Barbuda football is growing globally.
Derrick has announced his candidacy for president of CFU, Gonsalves has been appointed to two major FIFA committees and four females making their mark in colleges in the United States the progress of A&B football is undeniable.
There is much hype about Antigua & Barbuda’s participation in the semis of the 2014 FIFA World Cup against USA, Jamaica and Guatemala, starting in June in Tampa Florida.
Antigua & Barbuda football is truly on the rise.
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