Foreign-born players sought for World Cup

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, January 25, 2008 – Barbados is advertising throughout North America and Europe for soccer players an attempt to qualify for its first World Cup.

Currently ranked 142 out of 201 countries by FIFA, Barbados is allowed only to recruit first-generation Barbadians born overseas. But Ronald Jones, president of the Barbados Football Association (BFA), said officials have asked for permission to approach second generation Barbadians as well.

“If we want to take football to the next level, we need to have an ability to reach into wherever Barbadians are,” Jones said.

The recruitment campaign has generated strong interest and the Bajan Braves could include at least 13 foreign-born players on their 25-member roster. The association has bought newspaper advertisements in the U.S., Germany, Italy and England.

“Give Barbados a chance,” a posting on the association Web site said. “Are you Barbadian by birth, nationality or descent? Let us check it out for you.”

A similar effort in 2002 helped Barbados field a team that reached the 2002 CONCACAF semifinals, said Charles Husbands, the association’s senior assistant secretary.

“Our aim is to go beyond that this time,” Husbands said.

Barbados’ first qualifier for the 2010 World Cup will be against Dominica on February 6 in South Africa.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.