ST. JOHN’S, Antigua (ABFA) – What could have been just a handover ceremony for gear became an affirmation of some of the country’s young female footballers when the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) made a presentation to seven U15 girls school teams.
Teams from All Saints Secondary, Antigua Girls High School, Clare Hall Secondary, Jennings Secondary School, Irene B. Williams, Ottos Comprehensive School, Pares Secondary School and Princess Margaret School received bibs, cleats, socks, keepers’ gloves, shin guards and uniforms through an ABFA and FIFA initiative.
President of the ABFA Everton Gonsalves reminded the young footballers of the importance of committing to their education and urged them to work hard on and off the field. Then he went to the heart of the matter for all girls everywhere, affirming them, saying, “You are beautiful,” before asking them to repeat the affirmation after him.
“The ABFA is very strong on education,” Gonsalves added. “It is necessary to get a sound and good education.” He then encouraged the girls to sport their new gear with pride, saying, “Show off with the right attitude.”
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Sports Senator Colin James, who was at the brief ceremony, himself a coach and principal of the Young Warriors FC, commended the ABFA, which will, with the support of FIFA, sponsor the School Girls U15 League, for giving female football “a new lease on life.”
Senator James opined that girls are more cooperative and coachable, and he urged the young players to make the most of the opportunities.
The ABFA, through all of the speakers which included General Secretary Gordon Derrick and Chairman of the Women’s Committee Gwen Salmon, reiterated the organization’s objective to develop all aspects of football in Antigua and Barbuda.
“Work hard and show dedication to the sport,” Salmon said to the footballers. “You are the next generation and we are looking to you.”