St. John’s Antigua- Students at several schools across the island barely concealed their excitement as the Benna Boys, on the cusp of the biggest games in the country’s football history, dropped in on their assemblies.
The players, along with members of the management team, made the rounds at Princess Margaret School and Green Bay Primary on Tuesday, and Christ the King and St Joseph’s Academy on Wednesday.
Benna Boys’ Communications Officer Mark Bowers presided over the sessions, during which time the significance of the upcoming games and the fact that only four Caribbean teams have qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals was discussed in lively sessions.
The players and the management team also rallied support for the team generally and support for the home games particularly. But the students proved that they are already among the converted, demonstrating their knowledge of the team, as well as dates of the Antigua & Barbuda games.
At Princess Margaret School, Team Manager and past student Fernando Abraham introduced the squad and coaching staff to thunderous applause.
Team captain George “Sowa” Dublin later presented Vice Captain Joshua Lynch, of the PMS Football team, with a football autographed by every Benna Boy. As it began, the visit ended, with applause and cheers from the students.
Dublin, as an alumnus, was on home turf at the Green Bay institution. It fell to him to present the team and coaching staff to the students, as well as the souvenir ball
At St Joseph’s Academy, past student Kerry “Arab” Skepple was in the lead, introducing the visitors and handing over another autographed football.
Molvyn James, a product of Catholic education, performed the honours at Christ the King. The students there showed their enterprising side and their confidence in the senior national footballer. They put the Benna Boys on notice that the ball would fetch a tidy sum on Ebay once the team advances to the final round.
The team was also warmly welcomed by the principals: Colin Green (PMS); Denise Solomon (Green Bay Primary); Rudolph Davis (St Joseph’s Academy); and Theodora Commodore (Christ the King).
Jennings Secondary and Ottos Comprehensive are on the itinerary for Thursday. More visits are scheduled for June.
The Benna Boys are making the rounds just days ahead of their departure for the IMG Training Center in Sarasota, Florida. The team leaves on Friday and will be in camp ahead of their opener of the FIFA World Cup Semi Final Round in the CONCACAF Zone.
Antigua & Barbuda will play the USA on June 8, at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The other teams in the group are Jamaica, who the Benna Boys will play here on June 12, and Guatemala.
Meantime, tickets for the June 12 fixture go on sale on Tuesday, May 29. Regular price is $75 for adults and $40 for children under 10. Fifteen hundred tickets – adults only – will be on offer in an early-bird special on that day, at a cost of $60.
The Antigua & Barbuda Football Association has also issued a reminder to the public that, in accordance with FIFA regulations, the sale of tickets at the venue on match day is prohibited.