Former Grenada ’keeper enters Lionesses’ Den

Andray Baptiste puts young goalkeeper Carrie Mancini through her paces
Andray Baptiste puts young goalkeeper Carrie Mancini through her paces

YOUNG footballers braved the cold to receive training from an international professional last Friday.

Former Grenada number one Andray Baptiste came to the city to help Woburn Lions and Lionesses hone their skills.

Baptiste represented his country at the 2009 Gold Cup and the 2010 Caribbean Cup. He was invited over by Lionesses coach Pat Mancini to teach the training exercises as part of his efforts to gain help and support for his football academy.

The visit took place to help raise awareness of a campaign to get old unwanted football equipment sent out to help improverished children at the player’s academy in his home country.

Lionesses’ club secretary Sue Gladman helped to organise the visit and she spoke of the scheme the Lions have with Baptiste and his academy.

She said: “The kids were excited by the visit and it was good to have an international keeper to show them the ropes. Andray also enjoyed it.

“He has an academy in Grenada that we’re looking to help, and we’re trying to get publicity so we can send gear. Old, unwanted football gear like footballs or pairs of boots can be donated to us and sent out. We have worked with a tireless couple and now we’ve got links with British Airways to get things moving.

“We are hoping to have him back again, but we’re also hoping to get the kids to Grenada. They’re excited by this – we’ve had so much interest we could probably fill the place ten times over.”

Despite the snow and the freezing temperatures forcing the boys and girls team’s to be taught at the same time after the initial boy’s event the week before was postponed, the players braved the cold to take part in the training.

Mrs Gladman also talked about the exercises the kids went over with the goalkeeper as they played on despite the weather.

She said: “They went over a whole range of things. These included how to catch the ball properly and shot stopping.

“They didn’t care about the cold. They want to play football whatever the weather and they took it in their stride.”