Omari Eastmond is gearing up for an energetic campaign to unseat Randy Harris in the Barbados Football Association (BFA) presidential race and reshape the sport’s leadership on the island.

Eastmond, a former goalkeeper for the Bajan Tridents, is the lone contender against Harris, who has been at the helm since 2012, and he has been actively seeking support from affiliated clubs and prominent figures in the sport, since declaring his candidacy for the April 7 election.

Eastmond plans to launch a series of events using various communication platforms to connect with the football community and key stakeholders.

“I’ve received tremendous backing, although not all of it is public. Many people have reached out to me,” Eastmond told Barbados Today.

“It’s crucial to convey my message because we’re in dire need of change. I can’t identify with any plans for the development of football in Barbados. We’re not in a good place at the moment. There was a time when Barbados’ rivals were Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba; now even Montserrat beating us. This can’t be the direction anyone would want to see football in Barbados,” he added, as the Tridents were recently relegated to League C of the Concacaf Nations League.

Eastmond believes that his candidacy represents a call for transformative leadership within the BFA, centred on strategic planning, financial accountability, and grassroots development, with the ultimate aim of revitalizing Barbadian football on both national and international stages.

As such, he intends to share his vision with football stakeholders leading up to the election, as he reaffirmed his commitment to fostering improved communication between clubs and ensuring transparency in the allocation of FIFA funds.

Drawing comparisons with successful football programmes in neighbouring Caribbean nations, Eastmond stressed the importance of prudent financial management and strategic planning.

“We just need to manage our money properly, and we’re not seeking advice from persons who are smart enough to tell the BFA how the money is best spent,” Eastmond noted.

Concacaf and the Barbados Football Association (BFA) this month launched the community-centric 'Bigger Game’ program at Barbados' Wildey Turf - bringing the Bigger Game launch among Concacaf Member Associations to a close for the remainder of the year. The initiative promotes women in sports by organizing football festivals specifically designed for girls and conducting comprehensive coaching workshops, with the aim of increasing enthusiasm for the 2024 W Gold Cup.

The event kickstarted with a Coaches Education Workshop which garnered participation from a total of 28 coaches consisting of female coaches, women's national team players, and male coaches who specialize in coaching in women’s football. This was followed by an exclusive girls youth football festival, which attracted over 100 children from neighboring schools. A hands-on opportunity, the festival allowed coaches to implement their freshly-acquired insights into action on the field. The event wrapped up with a special equipment donation and presentation.

Concacaf dignitaries, General Secretary, Philippe Moggio and Chief Football Development Officer, Jason Roberts, were present during the festival and at the equipment handover ceremony.

During his address, Moggio underscored the present-day relevance of providing access to football for young people in the Concacaf region. “It is fantastic to see Bigger Game in action and to witness first-hand, here in Barbados, some of the ways it is harnessing the power and popularity of football to create opportunities for young people. Our 41 member federations are united by a passion for the game, and it is part of our core mission to provide access for young people to play and participate, and to provide opportunities for children across the region to develop a passion for football,” said General Secretary Moggio. “To see so many girls and women participating in these programs here in Barbados highlights the ongoing growth of the women’s game in our region and is something we will continue to cultivate and grow through our Concacaf W strategy,” added Moggio.

BFA’s General Secretary, Amanda James, spoke at length about life skills as an important part of the social development of young girls. “This initiative from Concacaf is not all about on the pitch but also off the pitch. These girls are learning a lot of life skills through football.”

BFA's President, Randy Harris, urged the significance of grassroots-level investment in football. “Because of the social problem among our young people, this is a great idea to have at this time. I think that working with these young women for football development and their social development is a very positive thing. We encourage all females to play the game of football – from the youngest of the young to as old as they can play.” said Harris.

The Bigger Game launch in Barbados follows the preceding launch in Costa Rica that took place in early October. In a similar fashion, the coaching education workshop, the football festival for girls, and the play activity session on the field comprised the bulk of the program. An equipment giveaway marked the conclusion of the launch activities and the overall Bigger Game initiation within the region for 2023.

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