Azarel Croney, or Mr Confetti as his close friends call him, has had a love affair with football from an early age as it was the sport of choice in his home community of St Stephen’s, Black Rock, St Michael. And after he started playing, the rest became history.
“It was the sport that older persons and the boys used to play, so I started watching it and started liking it from a very young age. Football was the most popular sport in my community. I tried it and fell in love with it,” he said.
Croney began his football career at the Barbados Soccer Academy before moving onto Belfield Football Club and is now settled at Notre Dame, where he is currently engaged in his third season.
And the midfielder, who celebrated his 24th birthday on June 16, said he was extremely proud of the way football had progressed on island over the years.
“Personally, I think football is moving a bit slow in terms of persons taking it seriously. But over the years I am really proud of the football program in Barbados. It has improved and developed a lot, and I am very proud to be a part of that,” he said.
He said his best memories were about games, but the ones specifically where they came from behind and won, especially the ones where they may have been down 3-0.
“A lot of those games I enjoy and find favorite moments in them,” he said.
Croney, who has 11 goals from 34 domestic appearances between 2018 and 2019, said like every footballer, he too dreamed of going pro one day.
“I believe every footballer’s dream is to become a professional or anybody’s dream in any sport, so it will be a dream come true to become a professional,” he said excitedly.
Croney, who got his pseudonym Mr Confetti for his ability to dribble the ball with grace and poise, said he was called up to the Barbados Football Association’s Senior Men’s Team during his first season at Notre Dame, but had a sprained ankle and could not accept the spot.
“I didn’t get a chance to go back so I’m not even sure if I would have made the cut at that time because I was out for a while,” he said.
But now Mr Confetti said he was excited that Head Coach Russell Latapy had been watching him play.
“I feel very privileged and proud of myself that I got a second call up. People have been telling me that I always had the potential to make the national team, so it is an achievement for me. I was a bit disappointed when the COVID-19 came in honestly because I was looking forward to the two national games,” he said.
But Mr Confetti has been keeping up with the regime issued by Latapy.
“I have been doing a lot of personal training. I run some hills, usually University of the West Indies hill doing some distance training. I can’t wait until football starts back,” he said jubilantly.