ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Several high-ranking government and other officials were present yesterday afternoon at the VC Bird International Airport where a formal send-off was hosted for Antigua & Barbuda’s senior national football team, The Benna Boys.
They departed the country yesterday in preparation for their June 8 World Cup qualifying match against the United States in Tampa, Florida.
Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, Sports Minister Winston Williams, Minister of State Chanlah Codrington, Director of Sports Mervyn Richards and Airport Authority CEO Gatesworth James were just some of the many dignitaries present to see the Benna Boys off, and wish them well in their quest to take on the world and, hopefully, to taste football glory come 2014.
Richards reminded the team that the nation’s hopes, aspirations and pride rest on their shoulders at this time. He urged them to pray, saying the invocation of divine help and guidance is the most important thing that has been done for them and they must also do for themselves continually.
Williams said, “Whatever happens from here, we are in it for the long haul and look forward to wrapping up this most important segment … The government has made certain commitments and we intend to live up to those commitments to the last penny. After that we will have to revisit the whole campaign, and if it requires more assistance, we will just have to do what we have to do. Certainly, the tourism dollars that we would get from this is immense.”
Former national cricketer and football enthusiast Curtly Ambrose also showed up for the send-off, but since it began later than planned he was forced to leave to attend another scheduled function.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)