Talk to any Barbados footballer player, coach or administrator and that person is likely to moan that the sport is among a few that just cannot catch a break.
Categorized as a contact sport, the COVID Monitoring Unit (CMU) has been reluctant to give the sport the green light to resume competitive matches and just when earlier this month football was permitted to do drills and skills training only, the island was hit with a spike in the pandemic causing that limited permission to be cancelled amid a partial national curfew.
As if that was not bad enough, a planned series of friendly practice matches with the senior national players and Iceland also had to be cancelled.
These matches were intended to be warm-up games for the Barbados Tridents as they gear up for a Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Football (CONCACAF) March fixture against Panama in the Gold Cup competition in March, out of which teams will qualify for FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Following the Panama encounter, the Tridents will this year play Anguilla, Dominican Republic and Dominica.
Officials suspended football in Barbados since March 15 last year.
“We are particularly concerned about our national teams, as they have not been able to compete for over nine months. However, internationally, competitions are being scheduled to resume in March, and our players will be at a serious disadvantage against stronger opposition, if their training does not include competitive tournaments,” the Nation newspaper reported Barbados Football Association President, Randy Harris, saying.
He added, “the CMU has classified football as a contact sport, and thus it makes it very difficult to manage island wide competitions. We accept that position, but we are hopeful that at some point, we can be given permission to resume our sport as usual.”
The newspaper also reported a local club, ‘Paradise,’ head coach, Kenville ‘Cab’ Layne, lamenting the lack of competition and the need to at least have players begin training.
“Right now, there is no set program for the players, but we are working on a pre-season individual preparation for them. The main thing we will concern ourselves with is fitness and tactics,” Layne said.
“The players are hungry to get back out there because they miss it, but with the new stipulations, a restart to football will be pushed back even further.”