St. John’s Antigua- It will cost Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) in excess of EC $500,000 just to contest Group F of the ongoing 2014 World Cup Qualifiers.
This is according to the first vice president of ABFA, Fernando “Nando” Abraham, who revealed recently that by the end of Antigua & Barbuda’s Group F campaign which concludes on November 15 in Haiti, the national team would have spent in excess of half million dollars in trying to get to the next round of the FIFA hosted competition.
“It’s costing us just over half million dollars to get there from the start and until the final game of the Haiti (leg). It is all about airfares which is very heavy, accommodation, stipend for players and coaches, and all the other bits and pieces you have to get in terms of refreshments for the players, food and whatever it is you need to get,” he said.
Antigua & Barbuda will take on Haiti here at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds on November 11 before playing the return leg four days later.
Antigua & Barbuda will, however, only need to win here in order to qualify for the next round in which they will be grouped with USA and Jamaica.
According to Abraham, teams competing in the country’s top football league – the imobile/OBSERVER Media Group Premier Division – will be without their national players as of November 2.
Abraham, who is also manager of the senior national football team, said this is to ensure that all players are well rested and injury free leading into the crucial Haiti fixture on November 11.
“We have a cut-off time and the cut-off time is going to be November 2; and as of that date, none of the national players will be allowed to play with their local teams. I know the information has been sent out but I am not sure if they have all gotten that information as yet,” the former national player said.
“We have spoken to the players already about it and I know the information should have gone out to the clubs. Whether or not they have it, I am not sure but it should be there in their hands pretty shortly if they don’t have it.”
The manager added that the coaching staff has already begun looking into conditions over in Haiti as they prepare for the return leg. He stressed, though, that the focus is first on playing at home.
“We are doing our homework also. We have been checking with the other teams who have visited there hearing what happened and how they went about certain things and putting some things together, so we know that when we get there everything will be OK,” he said.
Should Antigua & Barbuda qualify from Group F, it would be the first time in the country’s history that such a feat would have been accomplished.