Match officials end the ABFA season in a festive mood


After going through their paces in an ABFA FIFA Member Association Referee Course, from July 3-7, match officials were feted Sunday night at the ABFA Referee Department Banquet and Award Ceremony held at the John E. St. Luce Financial and Conference Center.

The referees traded their uniforms for fineries, and the conviviality of the evening showcased their lighter side.

The course was facilitated by FIFA Technical Instructor Dianne Ferreira James, and FIFA Fitness Instructor Rohan Thobourne. FIFA Referee Development Officer Javier Santos was also present.

It was this trio that presented the awards to the match officials who excelled in the course, with Patrick Browne taking home the goods for achieving the highest grade on the video test.

Portia Davis and Ken Pennyfeather were named the top female and male referees respectively, while teenagers Shaquan Jules and Nefertiti Colbourne were dubbed future FIFA referees alongside Dorian Whyte.

In the ABFA Awards, Jay Joseph was Most Improved; Rookie of the Year—Dorian Whyte; All-Star Assistant Referee—Nikesha Gage; Fan Favorite of the Year—Donald Francis; Junior AR of the Year—Robert Emmanuel; Junior Referee of the Year—Shemroy Allie; Senior AR of the Year—Wasnah Barnarde; and Senior Referee of the year—Ken Pennyfeather.

The peer awards went this way: Donald Francis—most likely to make his colleagues smile; Shernell Burton—most likely to fill in at the last minute/most helpful; Wasnah Barnarde Mr. Personality and Cariesa Corbett Ms. Personality; and Pennyfeather—most likely to give advice.

In his feature address, Colonel Telbert Benjamin, Chief of Defence Staff ABDF, urged the match officials to be disciplined and ambitious and to always work as a team. He told the ABFA top brass to continue investing in the program, positing that it is far more attainable for a panel of referees from Antigua and Barbuda to make it to future World Cup games than it is for the Benna Boys to qualify.

On a night where versatility was one of the watchwords, Corbette entertained her colleagues with a dance, and the usually tough-as-nails Head of Refereeing Kelesha Antoine was moved to tears when the referees presented her with a token, calling her their leader and expressing appreciation for her efforts.

During dinner, pannist Angel Brotherson thrilled the audience with his deftness on beloved ballads. Before him, singer Delron Frederick got the ball rolling.

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