Between September 2011 and November 2011, Antigua and Barbuda participated in the second round of CONCACAF qualification for the 2014 World Cup. The results in these six matches (5-0-1 in a group against Haiti, Curacao, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) earned Antigua passage to the next phase, in a group with the United States, Guatemala and Jamaica.
Key players, those who played in at least four of the team’s six games, were:
Molvin James (GK), Ranja Christian, Marc Joseph, Quinton Griffith, Tamorley Thomas, Randolph Burton, Lawson Robinson, Peter Byers, George Dublin, and Karanja Mack.
(Mikele Leigertwood, Keiran Murtagh, and Justin Cochrane each made 3 appearances)
Antigua national team players who have featured for Antigua Barracuda FC this season are:
George Dublin, 7 games, 591 mins
Karanja Mack, 8 games, 715 mins
Ranja Christian, 5 games, 95 mins
Quinton Griffith, 8 games, 696 mins, 2 goals
Akeem Thomas, 8 games, 635 mins
Tamorley Thomas, 7 games, 342 mins
Lawson Robinson, 7 games, 379 mins
Kimoi Alexander, 7 games, 467 mins, 1 assist
Eugene Kirwan, 1 game, 5 mins
Peter Byers, 8 games, 595 mins, 1 goal and 3 assists
Randolph Burton, 3 games, 131 mins
Kerry Skepple, 4 games, 134 mins
Stefan Smith, 8 games, 562 mins, 4 goals
Keita De Castro, 2 games, 1.5 GAA, 180 mins, 3 GA, 2 losses, 12 saves, 18 shots against
Molvin James, 6 games, 2.166 GAA, 540 mins, 12 GA, 2 wins, 4 losses, 21 saves, 56 shots against
A Venn diagram of the two lists of players would show that Molvin James (GK), Ranja Christian, Quinton Griffith, Tamorley Thomas, Randolph Burton, Lawson Robinson, Peter Byers, George Dublin, Karanja Mack were all both key players for Antigua in last year’s qualifying and contributors on Antigua Barracuda FC. These nine players form the backbone of both the Antigua and Barbuda national team and Antigua Barracuda FC. This shows exactly how weak the national team is, given that Antigua Barracuda FC is currently sitting in 10th place out of 11 teams in USL-Pro. ABFC has conceded 16 goals in 8 games while only scoring 7 goals all season and winning two games, both of which were early season games at home. In fact, ABFC have not scored a single goal away from home and have only scored one goal over their last five games since a victory on April 28.
Other players who played 3 or 4 games during World Cup qualifying and don’t play for Antigua Barracuda FC are:
Mikele Leigertwood (29) is a defensive midfielder for Reading (newly promoted to the Premier League).
Keiran Murtagh (23) is a lower level midfielder in England, having played for Wycombe, Cambridge United and Woking in recent years.
Marc Joseph (35) is a central defender playing for a non-league side in England.
Justin Cochrane (30) is a defensive player who was recently playing on a non-league English team.
Antigua and Barbuda played four friendly matches in early 2012. 29 February, a 4-0 loss to Trinidad and Tobago. 3 March, a 1-0 win in St Kitts and Nevis. 1-0 loss in St Vincent and the Grendines on 30 March before getting a 2-1 win in St V and G on 1 April with goals from Lawson Robinson and Peter Byers. Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Vincent and the Grenadines all failed to progress to the third round of the qualification process.
Anton Blackwood (20) is a right back who plays with non-league football in England and Dexter Blackstock (26), who made 22 appearances for Nottingham Forest this past season, both debuted for the Antigua and Barbuda national team against Trinidad and Tobago.
This Antigua and Barbuda national team consists of most of the starting XI from Antigua Barbuda FC, a team that can not handle the level of play in USL-Pro. USL-Pro is the third level of professional soccer in the United States and ABFC is the second worst team in that league. Though Peter Byers is the tournament’s second leading scorer with 8 goals and Dexter Blackstock is an important player at a not horrible Championship team, Antigua and Barbuda should not have one single shot on goal in the match on Friday. If the United States Men’s National Team cannot get a result in Tampa, Florida, we should all just give up and stop caring about this sport.