St. John’s Antigua- Hundreds of Americans are expected to converge on Antigua this week to witness the United States taking on the Benna Boys in their CONCACAF semi-finals Zone A match of 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds (SVRCG) on Friday.
The Americans, who prevailed 3-1 when both sides met in the first leg in Florida on June 8, will be seeking another victory over Benna Boys in Friday’s return leg to enhance their chances of qualifying from the four-team group.
The USA, Guatemala and Jamaica are all tied at the top of Group A on seven points from four matches, while Antigua & Barbuda currently occupy the cellar position with one point.
With only the top two teams in the group advancing to CONCACAF final round of qualifiers, another victory over Antigua & Barbuda will certainly increase the Americans’ chances of advancing.
Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) General Secretary Gordon “Banks” Derrick said many American football fans have already purchased tickets for Friday’s game.
“I understand it’s about close to 800 persons that have already bought tickets from the US itself; not Antiguans living in the US, but US (Americans) persons who are coming down to see the game. So we expect to see a good contingent of US persons there also. We want to give them a good time off the field.”
Derrick said hosting the match in Antigua would give the country added exposure as a major tourist destination.
Derrick said about 20 media organisations from the USA and other parts of the world are also expected in Antigua to provide coverage of Friday’s historic football match.
“It would be a travesty to play the United States and not have the opportunity to play them here so that all the media hype around it could experience Antigua and sell us to the rest of the world, not only from a football perspective but a tourism point of view which could be a help to our economy, which is largely tourism based,” Derrick said.
“There about 17 to 20 media houses that will be coming to Antigua for the game. Apart from ESPN that will be carrying the game, we will have reporters from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
“There will be others, but I don’t remember them all at this moment; but it’s about 17 from the USA, at least two from Germany and another two from the United Kingdom. So we should have somewhere about 20 overseas media houses here during the game.”