(left-right) Midfielders Kwami Kirby, Denny Henry and Ngozie Harvey will travel to Barbados for the final leg of the Digicel Kick Start Clinic. (Photo by Thaddeus Price)
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua & Barbuda -- Midfielders Kwami Kirby, Denny Henry and Ngozie Harvey were given the nod ahead of 29 other young footballers in the Digicel Kick Start Clinic held at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds over the weekend.
The clinic was conducted by Steve Winnett and other coaches from the Chelsea FC Foundation. They made the final player selections on Monday.
A fourth selection -- striker Christian Fernandez -- was made a wild card addition to a Caribbean group of 14 from which three will be chosen for the Barbados leg of the initiative.
Sowerby Gomes, who was charged with preparing the selected candidates from Antigua, expressed satisfaction with how the young players represented themselves.
“I share the feelings of the coaches from Chelsea who were here,” said Gomes. “They said the Antigua leg was one of the most difficult for them because selecting the top three players was like pulling out your hair. The talent was so high. The players were so fit and they brought the level of passion to the game. The attitude was right and the energy that they brought, they could not desire any better.”
The trio will travel to Barbados later this year for a one-week training stint with the Chelsea Academy.
Gomes assured that the players will be kept busy until then.
“What we are planning to do is pull them into our training academy, the Villa Lions Soccer Academy, and keep them in a high level of competitive training so that when the time comes for them to leave Antigua and go off to Barbados they will be in full shape,” he stressed. “In addition, the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association kicked off, I think, last week so 90 per cent of these players will join the national team in training so these four players will form part of the under-17 line-up.”
At the program’s conclusion, one of the top of the footballers will get a full scholarship at the University of the West Indies.