Atiba Harris- time is right to seek football presidency

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By Staff writer, MyVue

Basseterre, 1st September, 2020, (MyVue – The next election for the St. Kitts & Nevis Football Association is not due until August next year, but already, one big name that is hoping to run for the presidency, is international football sensation, Atiba Harris.

Harris recently disclosed on local radio that he has been giving some thought to returning to his homeland, St. Kitts, to live and perhaps serve the sport of football in an administrative capacity.

Harris said his intention had never been to live in America forever, but instead, it has always been about going there to advance his career, then returning to his Caribbean land to make a contribution.

“My intention was always to come back home and serve my people, and football is my field and one of the things I have always wanted to do was …and for the next SKNFA election, I am gonna contest it as a president. That’s something I want to do and that’s coming up next year and that’s something I intend to do. God’s willing, I’ll be home to contest the election and hopefully I am elected to help lead our football going forward, with the help of many others.”

Harris said that he believes that football is for football people, and he went on to reference what he said is a trend worldwide, where for example, young footballers are making that step into the administrative side of the sport.

One such player Harris cited was Didier Drogba, a well respected national player for the Ivory Coast, who not only once challenged warring factions in his country to stop waging war but also also made known his intentions earlier this month to vie for the presidency of the Ivorian Football Federation. He however has tough competition from the current vice president.

Drogba, a striker, has also played for Chelsea and Marseille.

“He has been one of the persons I have looked up to, on and off the field, for inspiration and the way he conducted himself on the field as a footballer and giving back to his people over there in the Ivory Coast,” said Harris.

Atiba also admitted, “I see myself in him a little bit, maybe on a smaller scale, but  helping our people back home. I have done things that people say …wasn’t achievable, in becoming a professional footballer, coming from a small island nation.”

In terms of running for the SKNFA presidency, Atiba, who has been captain of the St. Kitts & Nevis National Team at various levels, said, “Now I feel like its time, where people are doubting me as having experience in managing or leading our football off the field. Now, it has given me added motivation to go on and show and prove the naysayers wrong and help our people, help our next generation.”

He added, “I have kids. Not many people have kids. And we need to be that inspiration for them and have real desire and real motivation and not just see what we can get out of football personally, but the overall, the holistic approach, and helping (to) develop the nation, because football is a big thing, football helps people.”

Harris, who said he is passionate about the sport, said “We have to be proud of our national team again.”

He is of the view that there are many more nationals who can make it big on the international circuit, including players and coaches…achieving something for themselves and the country and their families.

In past years, Harris has be known to live by example, and has given back to his community of St. Peters, St. Kitts.

The main football complex in St. Peters, was earlier this year, (2020), named in his honour and a basketball team also carries his name.

While speaking at the ceremony for the naming of the football complex, Harris targeted his message to the younger generation, telling them to pursue their dreams with passion and endurance, and though we have the talent here in St. Kitts & Nevis, “We have to find that desire, willingness, determination, and discipline to keep going.”

Harris has followed his dreams, playing for teams in the UK and USA and is now turning his attention to the next challenge, but one off the field, to become the top executive of St. Kitts & Nevis football.

The results of that new pursuit, will not be known until the summer of 2021.

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