Lone presidential challenger ahead of Thursday night’s Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) Annual General Meeting, Veron “Epilus” Edwards Jr, is confident that he has the backing of the majority of clubs in Antigua and will come away from the highly anticipated general election as winner.
The former national mid-fielder, during an interview yesterday, said he has been getting positive feedback from most clubs and that the consensus is that there is a need for positive change.
“The response has been very positive in my view and sometimes it is difficult getting onto certain clubs and that’s something that we will have to look into when I get in,” he said.
“I get the impression with some clubs that they are not properly organised and structured, and that’s part of our plans if we are elected is to get clubs galvanised and get them better structured and so forth; but the response has been very positive and I am pretty confident that on Thursday night I will come out victorious.”
The former Empire player and coach added that he seeks only to bring about change in the way the sport is administered and accused the present executive and its leader, Everton “Batow” Gonsalves, of running a dictatorship for the past four years.
“I find that when you have your own club or you’re part of the executive and you form a professional organisation, and you turn down other teams who have been part of the set-up like Bassa and Old Road and other teams for over 20 years in this country; and when they came to you and asked you for assistance, for money to play in the Champions League, and I (speak) specifically of Bassa who had to pay a $20,000 fine because they were refused the assistance, when they have been part of the national fabric for football, but you help your own personal team, I find that is wickedness and dictatorship,” Edwards said.
The former national player reiterated that once successful on Thursday, his focus would be placed on youth development.
“I believe that if you build a good foundation then building the rest of the house properly is something that can happen easier so I believe if our team is going to be an extremely good team in the next five to 10 years but we have to pay very keen attention to youth development,” Edwards said.
“When you get kids going off to college to study and play or to go off on professional trials and being in a professional atmosphere then you get players who can think better and make better decisions and so forth.”
Edwards will go head-to-head with Gonsalves on Thursday night at Multipurpose & Exhibition Cultural Centre. The meeting is slated to start at 7 pm. (By Neto Baptiste)