Central defender Dwight Pope is anxious to see football return to the playing field after a year of no competitive action because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Pope, a 28-year-old Trinidad and Tobago footballer who last played in Barbados when he represented Paradise Football Club said he was desperate to get back out there.
“It has been a setback and a real struggle. This is my job playing football and for the year no income, it has been a real struggle,” Pope told Barbados TODAY.
Once football returns to Barbados, primarily the Barbados Football Association’s Premier League, Pope is looking forward to rejoining his Dover-based family.
“From day one when I went there, they welcomed us, myself and three other guys. In speaking to the other guys, my teammates were glad to have us there.
“Myself and Adrian Donovan had a personal relationship where we kept calling or texting each other. Even when I am here and he is over there, we always keep in contact with each other.
“Every time I call or text him, I keep asking when the league is going to start back or what is happening there (Barbados). It has been a year so it is about time I get back out there on the field and do what I love,” Pope said.
Pope said that even after three months of inactivity when the premier league had stopped last year in Barbados, BFA president Randy Harris stepped up to make them feel comfortable.
“Getting a flight back home when the borders were close and having to get tested was a challenge but the Paradise club and the BFA took care of things so we were so grateful,” he added.
While home now in Trinidad Pope continues to train. “I never stopped training because I recently got called for the senior men’s national team. I have been practising with the national team. However, they selected a 23-man squad and I did not make it. But I never stopped training. I do my training and we do a little scrimmage in the afternoon like in my community that keeps me fit.”
Despite all the training with the national team in his native Trinidad and Tobago, Pope described it as a struggle not only for himself but other players in the twin-island republic.
“It is a big stretch because I have heard that some of the professional players here in Trinidad, some of them are turning into being pests in the community and looking for money. So, they are doing the wrong things right now.
“It has been down in football right now. We are struggling because for most of us that is our way out just to support our family especially those of us who have kids,” Pope explained.
He also encouraged clubs in the region that once football resumes, they should seek to follow protocols similar to what is being used in the English Premier League.
“I think we should do like the EPL. They have some protocols in place and I think we should follow those steps. I think by now everyone is being so safe about the Coronavirus, so I think we could put some protocols in place where we can practise and play games without the supporters. Or we can allow a certain number of supporters in the arena. They are playing the World Cup qualifiers, so I think we can start a league,” the 5ft 10in defender said.
SOURCE: Barbados Today