Allen relishes dual Antigua & Barbuda role

Vashami Allen (pictured) is a key member of the Antigua & Barbuda under-20 national team and is in the early stages of his senior squad career. (Photo: David Heykoop)

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua & Barbuda – The last few months have been busy ones for Antigua & Barbuda international Vashami Allen and, based on the current trajectory of his career, he should get used to more of the same.

Allen helped the Benna Boys earn a place in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship for the first time since the 1998, gaining Best XI honors in the finals of October’s Caribbean qualifying tournament as his side finished as runner-up to champion Haiti.

Then, on Tuesday, the 19-year-old center back made his second-ever senior appearance in a 1-0 loss to visiting Estonia.

“This has been an instrumental year for my career,” Allen, who plays for All Saints United FC, told  “I am 19 years old and getting regular football.  Not many players get these opportunities.  I must say I am humbled and honoured.

“From going to Curacao and helping my country get to the CONCACAF U-20 tournament to then play against a top European team, it has been a blessing for sure.”

Although the jump from under-20 to full-international football can be Grand Canyon wide, Allen was unfazed.  In fact, he kept it all in perspective, realizing that it all has to be viewed as being part of his development process.

“Well the game was a rough game at first,” said Allen of the Estonia encounter in which he played the entire 90 minutes.  “I was a little scared then the senior guys talked to me and built my confidence.  Then I settled down and started playing.  I had fun while playing and I liked it. 

“We played well with such a young team and we are improving for sure. I think I did well against Estonia, who are no pushovers in Europe.  It was a good atmosphere.  I enjoyed playing against a UEFA team and I am just working on improving my game.”

With Antigua & Barbuda set to participate in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship next year in Costa Rica, Allen has one clear objective.

“My goal is to help my team qualify for the U-20 FIFA World Cup,” he finished.  “Antigua has never qualified, so doing so would be history for our country and it would mean progress for our football.  I am looking forward to next year for sure.”