Bajan footballers stalled

Youth footballer, Abiola Grant, (R) in recent action. Ê
Photo by George Alleyne

 As COVID-19 continues to make a casualty of some sports and athletes across the world, three Barbadian footballers have to languish at home while professional try-out opportunities abroad go a-begging.

The island’s Nation newspaper has reported that the youngsters, Niall Reid-Stephen, Roshon Gittens, and Abiola Grant, all junior players, at this time were to be at European clubs showing off their skillsets with an eye to possible call-ups for professional play.

“The players were supposed to go out of the country on stints, but due to COVID-19 they cannot travel right now. We will have to wait and see what happens but the players were set to leave for sure. We are waiting until things are better and get safer with COVID,” the paper reported Barbados Football Association (BFA) technical director, Ahmed Mohamed, saying.

“We are still in contact with the clubs at the moment. Everybody understands that the players are not travelling right now. The interest in the players is still there for sure. The boys are still playing and training every day. Unfortunately, the virus came and it is out of our control,” he added.

“It is a case where our footballers must just keep working hard so when the day comes, they can be ready. We are preparing the players mentally towards that especially.
“Right now Europe is the best destination for some of our best young talents.”

The BFA is meanwhile not leaving the young players idle and in addition to taking them through their paces daily is preparing them for the new and different circumstances they will enter when the pandemic is over.

“Once you leave Barbados and go into a totally different environment you will get a culture shock and we want to avoid that. We have to prepare as much as we can so the players can integrate into the new environment. We are … teaching the players what they have to know in order to adapt,” Mohammed said.

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