Antigua and Barbuda have carved out a niche as one of the sides on the up in the lower reaches of the CONCACAF region. In South Africa 2010 qualifying, they stretched Cuba in an ultimately losing effort. Last time out, in qualifying for Brazil 2014, they made history by edging out Haiti to reach the third round with an organised squad led by English-born coach Tom Curtis. It was an auspicious moment for a team that are hoping to start their Russia 2018 bid on the right foot against St. Lucia in the second preliminary round.
The Benna Boys have a raft of young talent coming through the ranks, like 23-year-old Quinton Griffith who plays his football in USA. A number of players based in the lower leagues in England are also in and out of the squad in the form of Alvin Jarvis, Myles Westin and Keiran Murtagh. Brentton Muhammed, who plays in frosty Iceland, has a bright future according to his national team boss. The true star of the outfit, however, is Pete ‘Big Pete’ Byers, the national team’s top all-time scorer with 38 goals.
Rolston Williams is a local boss eminently familiar with the ins and outs of the region’s football. This is his second stint in charge of the Benna Boys and he is also coaching Antigua and Barbuda’s women’s and youth national teams. His focus is on getting the right mix between foreign-based players and those who live on the islands. “I think the time has come for us to be real and to understand that the players coming from overseas must be to a certain quality,” he told FIFA.com.
17 – the number of Antigua and Barbuda national team players from the Brazil 2014 qualifying campaign from club side Antigua Barracuda, who played in the lower tiers of the US system before disbanding in 2014 after losing all 26 of their games that season.
The former stars