Antigua and Barbuda national football team
|Nickname(s)||The Benna Boys|
|Association||Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA)|
|Confederation||Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)|
|Sub-confederation||Caribbean Football Union (CFU)|
|Most caps||Peter Byers (90)|
|Top scorer||Peter Byers (43)|
|Home stadium||Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and Antigua Recreation Ground|
|Current||126 (22 October 2020)|
|Highest||70 (October 2014)|
|Lowest||170 (December 2003 – January 2004)|
|Current||171 2 (19 November 2020)|
|Highest||131 (November 2010)|
|Lowest||179 (November 2007)|
| Trinidad and Tobago 11–1 Antigua and Barbuda |
(Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago; 10 November 1972)
| Antigua and Barbuda 10–0 U.S. Virgin Islands |
(North Sound, Antigua & Barbuda; 11 October 2011)
| Trinidad and Tobago 11–1 Antigua and Barbuda |
(Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago; 10 November 1972)
The Antigua and Barbuda national football team is the national team of Antigua and Barbuda and is controlled by the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association, a member of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football and the Caribbean Football Union.
The official nickname of the Antigua and Barbuda national football team is The Benna Boys due to the indigenous music of the country. The name was selected in a contest with the fanbase in 2012 after the team advanced to the third round of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. The Benna Boys beat out other entries in the contest such as Beach Boys, Iron Bandits, Rhythm Warriors and Party Crashers. In the past, the national team was unofficially known as the Wadadli Boys, another name that was in the contest but did not win.
(1972) First international matches
The Antigua and Barbuda Football Association became affiliated with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) in 1970. The first official FIFA match played by Antigua and Barbuda was away against Trinidad and Tobago in Port-of Spain, Trinidad on 10 November 1972 for a home and away series during 1974 FIFA World Cup qualification. Trinidad and Tobago won the first match 11–1, making this result Antigua and Barbuda's worst loss in team history. The Soca Warriors also won the second leg in St. John's, Antigua 2–1 nine days later.
(1998) Fourth-place finish in the 1998 Caribbean Cup Finals (The Zoran Vraneš Era)
The 1998 Caribbean Cup, hosted by Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, saw Antigua and Barbuda, led by Serbian coach Zoran Vraneš, serve up a surprise as they reached the semi-finals of the competition. In the qualifying round, the Benna Boys had an unbeaten string of matches securing progression to group stages of the finals. Antigua were placed in Group 4, along with Grenada, Guyana and Anguilla. A 2–2 draw to Guyana in the opening game was followed by a 7–0 thrashing of Anguilla – in which The Benna Boys were rampant. All this before a narrow 2–1 victory over Grenada, who finished in second spot on 6 points. Winning two matches and drawing one saw Antigua and Barbuda topped the group with 7 points, sealing their progression to the group stage of the Caribbean Cup Finals.
|Antigua and Barbuda||7||3||2||1||0||11||3||+8|
In the group stage, there were two groups. Antigua and Barbuda were put into Group A with their first match coming against a very talented Trinidad and Tobago team, a match they narrowly lost 3–2. A 2–1 win over Dominica followed, with Derrick Edwards and Winston Roberts grabbing the crucial goals that gave Antigua the platform to carry onto the final tie against Martinique, and a 5–1 hammering of the latter was assured. The performances in the aforementioned three matches saw Antigua and Barbuda get second place in the group and qualify for the knockout phase of the tournament.
|Trinidad and Tobago||9||3||3||0||0||13||3||+10|
|Antigua and Barbuda||6||3||2||0||1||9||5||+4|
The Benna Boys' first and only qualification to the knockout round saw them pitted against the heavy favourites of the tournament, Jamaica's Reggae Boys. Antigua and Barbuda did so well to keep their fierce rivals at bay for normal time, until Onandi Lowe struck in the 110th minute of extra time to send Antigua and Barbuda into a 3rd Place Playoff with Haiti who lost to Trinidad & Tobago in the other semi-final. That would produce a magnificent encounter, with Antigua ending up the losing team in a five-goal thriller. Vaughn Christopher and Ranjae Christian bagged the duo of goals for Antigua and Barbuda but it wasn't enough to grab third place and a bronze medal. To this day, placing fourth in this edition of the Caribbean Cup is the highest achievement for the Benna Boys.
|Trinidad and Tobago||4–1||Haiti|
|Stern John 1', 60'
Irasto Knights 15', 42'
|Eddy Cesar 85'|
Third Place Playoff
|Haiti||3–2||Antigua and Barbuda|
|Jean Bernard Fleurial 72'
Jean Robert Menelas 27'
Abrahim Mackenzy 71'
|Vaughn Christopher 53'
Ranjae Christian 58'
(2005) First European opponent
On 17 December 2005 the Antigua and Barbuda national team played their first and only ever match against a European opponent after the Hungarian Football Federation invited the Benna Boys to play Hungary in an international friendly at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This was the first match coached by former national striker Derrick Edwards. Antigua and Barbuda went down early in the 10th minute when Krisztian Vadocz tricky footwork saw him evade three defenders and fired past goalkeeper Elvis Anthony to make it 1–0. Then in the 32nd minute, the Hungarians doubled the scoreline when Robert Feczesin easily redirected a Daniel Tozser free kick with his head past Anthony, who failed adjust quickly enough. The Hungarians then added a third 10 minutes from time through Istvan Ferenczi, who fired home from just outside the six-yards box.
(2011–2012) Historical run in 2014 World Cup qualifying (Tom Curtis Era)
Antigua and Barbuda led by Tom Curtis made a historic run to the third round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. They received a bye from the first round of CONCACAF qualifiers and were grouped with the U.S. Virgin Islands, Curaçao and Haiti in the second round. Their first match was at home to Curaçao. After conceding the first goal, the Benna Boys came back to win the match 5–2. Next, Antigua and Barbuda played away to the U.S. Virgin Islands and won convincingly 8–1. In their third fixture, Antigua and Barbuda had to play a tricky away match at Curaçao. Tamarley Thomas scored the game-winning goal in the 73rd minute to give Antigua and Barbuda all 3 points. Up next in their fourth fixture of the second round was a home match versus the U.S. Virgin Islands. Antigua and Barbuda wasted little time before scoring the opening goal. In this match, the Benna Boys made history with an emphatic 10–0 win that saw Peter Byers and Tamarley Thomas both scoring hat-tricks. This was the biggest win in Antigua and Barbuda football history. While Antigua and Barbuda easily beat the U.S. Virgin Islands, Curaçao drew away at Haiti. This meant that Haiti needed at least a draw in their next match in Antigua to stay alive in the competition. On 11 November 2011, Antigua and Barbuda played versus Haiti at home. This match proved difficult for the Benna Boys. For large spells of the match Haiti had majority of the possession and almost scored on a number of occasions including hitting the post twice in the first half. In the second half, Haiti was content on settling for a draw knowing that the next match was in Port-au-Prince and would be favoured to win. In the 82nd minute, Antigua and Barbuda opened up the deadlock with a strike from Kerry Skepple. After the goal, Haiti pressed for the equalizer and forced goalkeeper Molvin James to make some terrific saves. Antigua and Barbuda won this match 1–0 and advanced to the third round of CONCACAF qualifying thus eliminating Haiti with a game to spare. In the final match, the Benna Boys lost in the return leg in Haiti 2–1. Winning this group saw Antigua and Barbuda's FIFA World ranking go to 83rd, their highest ever at the time.
|Antigua and Barbuda||6||5||0||1||28||5||+23||15||Advance to third round||—||1–0||5–2||10–0|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||6||0||0||6||2||40||−38||0||1–8||0–7||0–3||—|
- Match awarded
In the third round, Antigua and Barbuda were grouped with Jamaica, Guatemala and the United States. The first fixture in his group was an away match to the United States. Most people were expecting a convincing win by the U.S. but Antigua and Barbuda made it a competitive game. After conceding the first two goals from Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey in the 8th and the 44th minute respectively, Peter Byers scored a goal on a through pass from Mikele Leigertwood to bring the match to 2–1 in the 65th minute. The Benna Boys were somehow trying to equalize but that came to an end in the 72nd minute when Hercules Gomez scored a goal. The match ended in a 3–1 loss but Antigua and Barbuda gained respect for standing toe to toe with a CONCACAF giant. Up next was a home match to Jamaica. It ended in 0–0 draw gaining their first ever point in the third round of World Cup qualifying. Next, was another tough road test versus Guatemala in the pouring rain that saw some areas of field flooded. Surprisingly, Antigua and Barbuda opened the scoring in the 39th minute from Peter Byers and took the lead into half time. In the second half, Carlos Ruiz leveled the match at 1–1 in the 60th minute. It went from bad to worse when they were reduced to 10 men. Molvin James received a second yellow card for time wasting and Ruiz scored another goal to take the lead 3 minutes later. In the 91st minute Dwight Pezzarossi sealed the match 3–1. The return leg against Guatemala in Antigua saw Guatemala win 1–0 on a wonder strike from Carlos Ruiz in the 25th minute. A home match versus the United States was the next on the schedule. The United States opened up the scoring in the 20th minute on a header from Eddie Johnson but then 5 minutes later the Benna Boys leveled the score from Dexter Blackstock from a Peter Byers pass. The match saw both teams have chances to take the lead even though the U.S. had majority of the possession. Unfortunately, Antigua and Barbuda conceded a late goal, again off of an Eddie Johnson header in the 90th minute. The match ended in a 2–1 defeat thus eliminating them from advancing to the next round. The final match of the third round was a 4–1 loss away to Jamaica ending their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
|United States||6||4||1||1||11||6||+5||13||Advance to fourth round||—||1–0||3–1||3–1|
|Antigua and Barbuda||6||0||1||5||4||13||−9||1||1–2||0–0||0–1||—|
(2016) Friendly arranged with Estonia
It was announced by the Estonian Football Association on 2 May 2016 that their national team will play Antigua and Barbuda in an international friendly on 22 November. It was the Benna Boys second match ever versus a European opponent. Estonia won the game 1–0.
(2018) Drug bust in Jamaica after two creditable friendly results
During March 2018 FIFA International window The Antigua and Barbuda Benna Boys first played Bermuda at home at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and won narrowly 3-2 through Rhys Browne in the first half, capitalizing on a defensive error and Joshua Parker from a header off of a short corner kick and two minutes later Myles Weston dribbling past a defender on the right wing and curling in a shot in the top corner of the goal. A few days later Antigua and Barbuda earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw away to Jamaica at Sabina Park, levelling in the last seconds of match from a header from Peter Byers. On the team's preparation for their departure back to Antigua, assistant coach Derrick Edwards and equipment manager Danny Benjamin were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, dealing in marijuana, taking steps to export marijuana, and conspiracy at the Norman Manley International Airport. Shocked by this discovery of this crime, it is made to believe that they may have been set up by an unknown person or persons. Initially Edwards was awarded bail but Benjamin was held without bail but after a month both Edwards and Benjamin were placed under house arrest and curfew along with giving up their travel documents. Both men have since been acquitted of the crime on 14 June, citing there was not enough evidence to prove their involvement in the carrying the drugs with the intention of smuggling the drugs out of Jamaica.
(2019) Rebuilding the national team with local based players (Michél Dinzey Era)
After failing to qualify for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup with losses to Saint Lucia and Martinique in September and November 2018 in the CONCACAF Nations League Qualifiers, the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association appointed German born Congolese Michél Dinzey as head coach on 7 March 2019, succeeding Derrick Edwards. In only a couple weeks with the national team and using an all local Antiguan based squad, they were able to defeat a heavily fancied Curacao team 2-1 securing League B.
In Group B, The Benna Boys started their campaign on 6 September 2019 away to Jamaica at the Montego Bay Sports Complex where they were embarrassingly routed 6-0 against a Jamaican squad fielding many of their overseas stars. With Coach Michél Dinzey using these games to give the young local based Antiguan players the needed experience, this match got a bit out of hand. A few days later the Benna Boys hosted Aruba at the ABFA Technical Centre in Paynters and won the match 2-1 with goals from D'Andre Bishop and Tevaughn Harriette in the first and second half respectively, the latter being the game winner after Aruba equalized from a header Terence Groothusen in stoppage time of the first half. This win gave Antigua and Barbuda its first points of League B. After defeating Aruba, the Benna Boys would play Guyana in a home and away series, the Antigua and Barbuda winning with the same scoreline, 2-1 at home with Quinton Griffith and Junior Benjamin both scoring 2 minutes apart in the first half with Emery Welshman pulling one back for Guyana in the second half. In the following match being played in Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda suffered another heavy defeat 5-1. Next, Antigua and Barbuda played Jamaica at home losing 2-0, giving up goals in both the first half and second half respectively. This loss left the team out of contention for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup but will remain in League B in the next edition of the CONCACAF Nations League. Antigua and Barbuda finished their campaign with a come from behind victory 3-2 away versus Aruba. It was announced that Michél Dinzey resigned as the senior men's national coach after the win effective immediately after their international friendly against Guatemala away, where the team suffered another humiliating loss by the scoreline of 8-0 with absolutely no shots on target and 1 shot overall.
The Antigua and Barbuda Benna Boys' biggest rivals are with the Saint Kitts and Nevis' Sugar Boys dating back from the inauguration of the Leeward Islands Tournament in 1949. In that tournament in particular, Saint Kitts and Nevis has the majority of wins in the head to head meetings. Although in FIFA 'A' international matches both teams have the same number of wins in the head to head meetings whether in Caribbean Cup Qualifying or international friendlies. The rivalry has calmed down a bit due to the Leeward Islands Tournament not being played since 2003. Another rival to a much lesser degree is with Haiti. Overall, Haiti has the better all time head to head record with seven wins to Antigua and Barbuda's two along with three draws between them. The rivalry in recent years comes from both World Cup Qualifying and Gold Cup Qualifying with Antigua and Barbuda eliminating Haiti in 2011 in the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers and then the following year in 2012, Haiti eliminated Antigua and Barbuda from reaching the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Stadiums and Training Ground
Antigua Recreation Ground (Saint John's)
The original home stadium of the Antigua and Barbuda national football team. Located in the heart of the capital, Saint John's, right on Independence Avenue. The maximum capacity that this stadium can hold is roughly 12,000 spectators. Currently the team plays there for international friendlies and sometimes the Caribbean Cup. In 2008, FIFA banned the ABFA from using this stadium for World Cup Qualifiers, citing that it is a safety hazard. The last World Cup Qualifier at the Antigua Recreation Grounds was a 1–0 victory against Aruba on 26 March 2008.
Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (North Sound)
Another home venue for the Benna Boys, which is located in North Sound, a 10–20 minute drive from Saint John's, the capital city. This more modern, state of the art venue holds up to 10,000 people. Since 2008, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium has hosted mainly World Cup Qualifiers, the first match being a 4–3 loss to Cuba on 17 June 2008.
Antigua and Barbuda Football Association Technical Centre (Paynters)
Located in Paynters in Saint George's Parish, this facility was a FIFA Goal Project starting from the year 2000. Even though FIFA gave the funds to the ABFA, the project has seen many controversial delays with the building process and only in 2016 has the technical centre opened and been in use for training purposes. This facility has an artificial surface, floodlights with some seating for spectators.
Past and present crests
These are the crests used over the years by the Antigua and Barbuda national football team.
The current kit of the Antigua and Barbuda national football team are manufactured by British company Admiral on June 2016 in time for the second round of the 2017 Caribbean Cup qualifiers. The first kit is the gold combined with black for mainly the home matches and the red with the black are the away uniforms. Before Admiral, the team kits were from China-based Peak Sportswear. The Benna Boys have worn that brand since 2012, after they qualified to the third round of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
|Kit Manufacturer||Time Period|
These are some of the kits worn over the years by the Antigua and Barbuda national football team over the years.
1995 Admiral Home Uniform
1998 Admiral Home Uniform
2000 Virma Home Uniform
2006 Adidas Home Uniform
2011 Adidas Home Uniform
2011 Adidas Away Uniform
2012 Peak Home Uniform
2012 Peak Away Uniform
2016 Admiral Home Uniform
2016 Admiral Away Uniform
Results and fixtures
The following is a list of match results in the last 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.
|15 November 2019 2019–20 CONCACAF Nations League B||Antigua and Barbuda||0–2||Jamaica||North Sound, Antigua and Barbuda|
|19:00 (UTC−4)||Report||Stadium: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium|
Referee: Randy Encarnación (Dominican Republic)
|18 November 2019 2019–20 CONCACAF Nations League B||Aruba||2–3||Antigua and Barbuda||Willemstad, Curacao|
|18:00 (UTC−4)||Report||Stadium: Ergilio Hato Stadium|
Referee: Jorge Pérez (Mexico)
|21 November 2019 International Friendly||Guatemala||8–0||Antigua and Barbuda||Coatepeque, Guatemala|
|Report||Stadium: Estadio Israel Barrios|
Referee: Sergio Reyna (Guatemala)
All-time record against all opponents
These all-time records are exclusively class 'A' internationals matches.
|Opponent||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals For||Goals Against|
|British Virgin Islands||8||4||2||2||14||10|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||23||9||5||9||30||31|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||13||7||2||4||17||20|
|Trinidad and Tobago||13||2||0||11||12||41|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||3||3||0||0||20||1|
Winning record Equal record Losing record
FIFA World Cup record
|FIFA World Cup record||FIFA World Cup qualification record|
|1930||Did Not Enter||Did Not Enter|
|1974||Did Not Qualify||4||0||0||4||3||22|
|1978||Did Not Enter||Did Not Enter|
|1986||Did Not Qualify||2||1||0||1||2||5|
|2022||To Be Determined||To Be Determined|
|2026||To Be Determined||To Be Determined|
CONCACAF Championship & Gold Cup record
|CONCACAF Championship & Gold Cup record|
|1963||Did Not Enter|
|1991||Did Not Qualify|
CFU Caribbean Championship and Caribbean Cup record
|CFU Caribbean Championship & Caribbean Cup record|
|1981||Did Not Qualify|
|1989||Did Not Qualify|
|1993||Did Not Qualify|
|1999||Did Not Qualify|
|2017||Did Not Qualify|
|Group|Appearances: 13/25||Best: Runners-up||46||10||11||25||49||80||40|
- ***Red border color indicates that Antigua and Barbuda was the host nation.
Champion Runners-up 3rd Place 4th Place Qualified
CONCACAF Nations League record
|CONCACAF Nations League record|
|2022–23||B||To be determined|
Promotion Safety Relegation
- CFU Caribbean Championship & Caribbean Cup :
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|1||GK||Molvin James||8 May 1989||43||0||Tryum|
|20||GK||Murphy Parker||16 August 1990||2||0||Swetes|
|23||GK||Jayden Martin||7 November 2002||2||0||Ottos|
|19||DF||Mervyn Hazelwood||6 December 1991||10||1||Villa|
|3||DF||Daniel Bowry||29 April 1998||8||1||Cheltenham Town|
|12||DF||Shavorn Phillip||9 September 1996||8||0||Liberta|
|5||DF||Chad Williams||5 May 1987||2||0||Greenbay|
|2||DF||Jomo Andrew||2 December 1993||2||0||Old Road|
|4||DF||Jervez Lee||10 September 1992||3||0||Ottos|
|7||DF||Kendukar Challenger||24 January 1997||3||0||All Saints United|
|11||MF||Quinton Griffith||27 February 1992||61||7||Five Islands|
|9||MF||Tevaughn Harriette||26 June 1995||19||6||Parham|
|18||MF||D'Andre Bishop||2 October 2002||7||1||Ottos|
|17||MF||Leroy Graham||7 December 1999||5||0||Five Islands|
|15||MF||Novelle Francis||10 March 1993||6||0||Parham|
|13||MF||Ronaldo Flowers||9 March 2003||1||0||Villa|
|8||FW||Javorn Stevens||9 May 1998||11||1||Greenbay|
|10||FW||Junior Benjamin||13 August 1992||10||3||Ottos|
|16||FW||Tyrique Tongue||14 March 2001||6||0||SAP|
|6||FW||Carl Osbourne||16 December 1992||4||1||Swetes|
|14||FW||D'Jarie Sheppard||28 June 2003||2||0||Willikies|
These are the players that were selected for the Antigua and Barbuda national football team in the last 12 months.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
Overseas based professional footballers
This is the list of the players who were born in the diaspora that went on to represent Antigua and Barbuda.
- Players in bold are still active, at least at club level.
Most capped players
Most goals scored
These are some of the head coaches of the Antigua and Barbuda national football team throughout the years.
|Zoran Vraneš||1998-2000||4th place at the 1998 Caribbean Cup|
|Tom Curtis||2011-2012||21||8||3||10||Semifinal round of the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers|
|Piotr Nowak||2014-2015||12||5||2||5||Highest FIFA Ranking of 70 under his tenure|
- "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 22 October 2020. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
- Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 19 November 2020. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
- "Text to 774 – 3307 your choice for the name the team contest".
- "Football Team Nicknames".
- "Caribbean Net News: Hungary beat Antigua-Barbuda in exhibition match". caribbeannewsnow.com. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
- "Eesti Jalgpalli Liit". jalgpall.ee. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
- Helps, HG (1 April 2018). "A Coach's Ganja Pain". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
- "Antigua And Barbuda national football team statistics and records: All-time record". 11v11.com.