Special BFA honours for 25
LONG-SERVING FIFA referee Mark Bob Forde and former national captain Gregory Lalu Goodridge were among 25 special awardees at the Barbados Football Association’s 100th anniversary celebration gala at Crane Beach Resort in St Philip on Saturday night.
Forde, 46, has officiated in more international matches than any other Barbadian, having served as a FIFA international referee for 19 consecutive years, a record matched by very few referees worldwide.
One of the Caribbean’s most respected referees, Forde, who has been officiating for 28 years, after beginning as a teenager, has officiated in the Caribbean Cup, the Gold Cup, several Olympic and World Cup qualifiers and friendly internationals.
Goodridge, 39, who gained over 100 international caps, was the first home-grown footballer to play in the English first division, representing Queen’s Park Rangers in 1995 and Bristol City in 1996 after moving from Torquay United.
Predictably, outstanding past footballers such as Keith Grell Griffith, who had been previously honoured as a coach, Jerry Goddard, Eric Alleyne, Denis Leacock and Anthony Daisy Clarke were among those saluted.
The Curaçao-born former national defender Horace “Tobacco” Beckles was hailed for coaching Barbados into the second round of the CONCACAF Zone of the 2002 World Cup when the national team created one of the biggest upsets in world football by defeating the highly rated Costa Rico.
BFA president Ronald Jones, who was also honoured, as well as two members of the executive council, senior assistant secretary Charles Husbands and junior vice-president Basil Gittens, and the long-serving Keith Jolla Barrow said the other 75 awardees would be fittingly acknowledged.
Banks Holdings Limited was also recognised for 36 years of sponsorship of the Tiger Malt Youth Tournament, while chairman of the BFA’s medical committee, Dr Raymond Forde, who has done extensive drug testing for the association, was extolled for his assistance to the national junior and senior teams.
FIFA vice-president and president of the CONCACAF and the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), Austin Jack Warner, delivered the feature address while Husbands read a message from FIFA president Sepp Blatter.