St. John’s Antigua- Four new teams have been confirmed for the 2012 Warriors Cup, officially making this year’s edition the largest since its inception some years ago.
This is according to chief organiser Colin James who, just hours before yesterday afternoon’s opening ceremony at Buckley’s Playing Field told OBSERVER Sports that over 30 teams are likely to take part in the competition, with upwards of 20 contesting the senior Championship Cup.
“It looks very likely that we might have about 30 clubs taking part in this programme and when we say that we are talking about clubs from the ABFA (Antigua & Barbuda Football Association) programme, and one or two new clubs looking to join the ABFA programme,” he said.
“In the Championship Cup, we might have upwards about 20 teams taking part because we confirmed over the last 24 hours, Bassa, Willikies, Freeman’s Village and Sea View Farm who are not part of the original press release we had sent out. Added to those, we are still looking for 5Ps and Police because indications are from both Police and 5Ps within the last 24 hours is that they want to compete as well,” James added.
In light of the huge response from teams wishing to take part in the annual event, James hinted that a preliminary round could be on the cards in an effort to eliminate some teams following what will be a guaranteed three matches.
“We might have to do a preliminary for the Warriors Championship Cup because last year we had 16 teams taking part in the Championship Cup and we divided them into four groups of four. So if we have 20, we might have to go five groups and then determine maybe the best qualifier from each group so that the best three teams with the most number of points going through to the semifinals,” he said.
“We also have to take into consideration that we might have an overseas team to join us at the quarterfinals stage. So we may do the top seven in terms of coming out of the group stages and the overseas team if they are able to make it to the tournament,” the organiser said.
The competition will also feature a Youth Development Camp which, according to James, will run from August 20 to 24. The camp, which will operate between the hours of 10 am to 2 pm, will be facilitated by an overseas coach, and all coaches are invited to take part.
“The first two hours will be devoted to football and the next two hours would be devoted to lunch and a lecture and we are going to be doing this at the John Hughes Playing Field because it has a pavilion, rest rooms and we are grateful and thankful for the assistance the John Hughes Sports Club is rendering to the Warriors Club and the Warriors Cup,” he said.
“But one of the exciting things about this youth development camp is that we have secured the services of a Portuguese coach and he is coming down to do this youth development camp and he is already a UEFA B license.”
James also thanked a number of businesses and individuals who came forward to offer assistance in making sure the tournament was able to get off the ground.
“I want to single out Sparkle Detergent, and they are a company that has been around for just about two and a half years and they produce a liquid detergent as well as a dishwashing liquid. Mr Devon Benta – ever since we spoke to him early in the year about being part of the programme he was always excited about it. Cool & Smooth, Heritage Sports, Athlete’s Foot and Island Original,” he said.
“The Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority came on in a meaningful way where they are supporting, not only the Warriors Cup, but are supporting the youth development camp as well as Steele Refrigeration and Air Condition Services, Bailey’s Jewelers as well as the St John’s Co-operative Credit Union and not forgetting GCS Bottling and Paradiso Water for being the official water supplier of the tournament,” James added.
In the Championship Cup, Hill Top will defend their 2011 title against ABFA Premier Division champions LIME Old Road, Champion Footwear Greenbay Hoppers, A&R Plumbing & Electrical Celtics, Virgin Holiday Fort Road, Villa Lions, John Hughes, Shotguns, Wings, Bullets, Young Warriors and Jennings Grenades.
Also competing will be Glanvilles, Sea View Farm, Freeman’s Village, Bassa, Police, Willikies and 5Ps.