The Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme’s (BDFSP) football team will compete in this season’s Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) Premier League.
That was the confirmation yesterday by BDF sports coordinator and club president, Captain Michael Jules, after months of speculation regarding the team’s status and continued uncertainly around the future of the programme.
Jules noted that while they were still awaiting word from Government regarding the programme’s existence beyond this year’s football season, the club’s First Division team would occupy one of the 12 spots in the topflight while continuing to operate under the BDFSP name.
In the past, the squad featured former members of the BDFSP who have graduated to the ranks of the BDF.
The team will be captained by former BDFSP and national player Jamal Chandler, who represented Ellerton FC in last year’s Republic Cup. Chandler, a coast guard officer, will be joined by Jason Lovell, Baggio Harewood and Raheim Sargeant, who also played in last year’s Republic Cup with Paradise FC. Former Porey Springs defender Rivaldo Graham is expected to be an important presence in the back line.
The team’s head coach will again be Asquith Howell, who is the most successful coach in BDFSP history as the team never finished outside the top three of the Premier League in any of his seasons in charge. The manager is Tahir Batson, who threw his full confidence behind the group ahead of their season opener against Abrahams United Silver Sands on Saturday night at the Wildey Turf.
“The team has its strengths and I expect a lot from them this season,” Batson said during yesterday’s telephone interview with Weekend Sport.
“We are going to do extremely well because of who we have coaching the team and the players in the team. That will be a boost in team morale, and we expect a good performance this season.”
“We are going for all three titles this year. We did it already, so why we can’t we do it again? With Jamal’s experience, we expect a lot of him with his experience and knowledge, to carry the team where we want to get this season,” he said.
“Ahead of the first game, preparations are going well. We had a tight schedule for the last few weeks. The guys are physically ready, and we are working on tactics and game plans right now. I am confident in the players we have, and it should be a very good game.” (NM)