Saturday, April 20, 2024

Boyce feeling boxed out


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The Barbados Football Association (BFA) needs to change the way it administers the sport and have a more professional set-up to achieve its goals.
That suggestion has been made by Emmerson Boyce, who is poised to captain Wigan Athletic in the English FA Cup final tomorrow at London’s Wembley Stadium against Manchester City.
“Barbados has got some real good talent and they are young as well [but] I think for Barbados football to progress or move forward, they need to rethink the way they run and handle football matters,” the Barbados international told WEEKENDSPORT this week in an exclusive interview.
Boyce, 33, who was born in England to Bajan parents, captained 146th-ranked Barbados during the latter stages of the Bajan Tridents’ winless six-match campaign for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. 
“It’s a project I wish and want to be a part of but it seems a distant dream,” he said.
“We as a country need to focus on the coaching side, which will make better players. The structure of football also needs to improve.” 
“But the question mark will be how much the people who can do this want to change.
“People always ask me why I don’t help the football in Barbados as every other country has got players helping them, but my answer is you cannot help if people do not want you to. It’s as simple as that.”
Boyce seemed peeved that the BFA had not realized the magnitude of a Barbados international captaining an English Premier League side in a Cup final at Wembley and the boost it could have for the country.
“I am sad to say I do not think it will have any effect on football in Barbados,” he said. “It’s funny, as I did not even receive a ‘well done’ message or text from the team or the BFA to show they are paying attention.  
“Only the coach [Colin] Forde sent a private email to wish me luck and to say well done. But nothing from anyone else, and to me that may just sum up the thinking of football in Barbados.
“I would love and have offered to help the BFA with any of the projects they have in mind but I have had little or no encouragement from them.
“So I guess somebody, who has played at the highest level in football for the last 10 years and who has been the captain and led his team to a major Cup final, must not know much about football,” Boyce said sarcastically.
“I think my four caps for the country show the way the football is going, which is sad and will be a great loss for the young talent coming through.
“But on a personal note, it was a proud moment for me to be wearing the captain’s arm band and if the manager gives me the arm band for the final it will be a very proud moment for me indeed and to have my wife (Lucy), kids (Jayden, Kylan, Amaya), my mum and dad (Melvin and Lucille) and the rest of my family in the crowd watching will be the highlight of my footballing career.”
Boyce also explained his reason for wearing the gold and ultramarine Barbados wrist band, displaying the trident even while playing for Wigan, who are involved a relegation battle in the Premier League.
“I wear the wrist band to represent Barbados and to give hope and inspiration to the young talent in Barbados and the country as a whole to have a Bajan playing in the top league and show them that it is not impossible to reach a high level, if you believe and work hard you may just get your chance.
“As I have no other way of influencing them, for me this is the best way I can go about it.
“For me, it will be a proud day when someone makes it in football or any sport, and says ‘I used to watch Emmerson Boyce playing and he was my inspiration to make it where I am today,’” Boyce said.
But he acknowledged that he is in the twilight of his professional career and probably won’t play any more international football.
“To be honest, I am thinking about retiring from international football.
“The last World Cup campaign was very hard for me. I felt that there was no desire to progress or even getting to the World Cup, which is every country’s goal but I did not see that from the BFA.
“For me to play when there was more or less little chance of qualifying I think says it all. Four caps in a 17-year career in anyone’s eyes is not a good or proud statistic to boast about, [but] I have a good life in England, play in the best league in the world and have a beautiful family, so do I really need the stress of helping when it’s not wanted.” 
Boyce said he would like to get involved in coaching.
“I have been doing my coaching course and hopefully will be completing the badge this summer and I am interested in exploring America (United States) maybe playing over there for a year or two, as I am an ambassador for Streetsoccer USA, so that would be something I may look to do in the future,” he said.
Boyce is also the owner of the franchise team, Bajan Elite, which participated in last year’s LIME Pelican Football Challenge.
“I would also like to say I am looking forward to developing Bajan Elite. I hope to have them helping in the community as well as being a successful team.” 


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