Eve: French Guiana trip a fools errand’
Dale Eve made himself unavailable for Bermuda’s Caribbean Cup decider away to French Guiana because he felt the trip was a “fool’s errand”.
Bermuda needed a victory to keep their hopes alive of advancing to the third round of the competition, but came unstuck against a superior side and were beaten 3-0.
Eve came in for criticism from Andrew Bascome, who immediately stepped down as Bermuda coach, after photographs emerged on Twitter of the goalkeeper attending the Bermuda Heroes Weekend Carnival.
Several other professional players such as Nahki Wells, Rai Simons, Milan Butterfield and Freddy Hall also opted against travelling to Cayenne last month, with Eve believing he was made a scapegoat for the loss.
Wells, the Bermuda captain, ruled himself out of the first and second-round matches because of a knee injury he picked up at the end of last season while playing for Huddersfield Town.
“I was singled out as the only player who didn’t go, but there were about four other professionals who did not travel either,” Eve said. “I knew they would not be going as soon as we heard the dates.
“Maurice Lowe [the Bermuda Football Association technical development officer] messaged me to ask me if I would be interested in going.
“I thought to myself ‘I know these guys who can actually score aren’t going, so what can I do standing in goal?’
“I said to Maurice, ‘I’m not going unless you take a serious enough team that can go to French Guiana and win’.”
The final group four game was a rearranged fixture after the previous meeting between the sides was abandoned because of torrential rain, with Bermuda, the visiting side, leading 1-0
Eve said he had already made plans to attend Bermuda Heroes Weekend Carnival with his family, who he has not been able to spend much time with during the past few years.
“It was a big weekend and I’d paid in advance for my mom, my sister and myself to attend the event,” said Eve, who is out of contract.
“I didn’t think there would be any football that weekend and there was definitely more to it than people think.
“I don’t get paid to play for Bermuda, which isn’t the case for other nations, and I only get six weeks off a year from playing football.”
Bermuda’s failure to advance in the Caribbean Cup is more to do with a lack of organisation and foresight than ability, Eve said, who accused the island of being comfortable with underachieving.
He believes the BFA needs to “think outside the box” when it comes to marrying the talents of the ever-increasing number of overseas-based players with those playing locally.
“We need to start bringing players together more often in training camps,” he said.
“We can’t just get together a few weeks before a tournament and go and beat another country — it doesn’t work like that.
“We have to put more emphasis on the overseas-based players. Why not bring the handful of local-based players involved over to England and get us all together.
“Surely that would be a cheaper alternative and there are about five international windows in a season.
“We need to stay together because often there’s two groups in the camp and it’s the overseas players trying to gel everyone together.”
Eve added he would like Bascome’s successor to be a foreign coach, although it is unlikely the BFA has sufficient funds to even consider such an appointment.
“I would like a foreign coach as local coaches gain favourites,” Eve said. “We’ve gone that route in the past [with Burkhard Ziese] and I gather he got a lot of good things done.
“When Bermuda is a hundred per cent, Jamaica and Trinidad should be the only teams in the region able to give us a run.”
Eve returned to England yesterday to begin his search for a new club, with the 21-year-old hoping to attract the interest of a Sky Bet League One or Two side.
The former Dandy Town youth-team player signed for Vanarama National League team Forest Green Rovers in February after being released by Barclays Premier League team Stoke City.
He had previously had a spell on loan at Forest Green in October, playing in the televised 2-1 victory away to Margate in the FA Cup fourth-round qualifying match.
The 6ft 4in player said he asked to leave the club before the end of last season as he was frustrated at his lack of playing time and has contemplated a move to a Major League Soccer team.
“My agent is doing all of the dirty work and trying to find me a new club,” said Eve, who revealed he maintains in regular contact with fellow English-based professionals Reggie Lambe, Jonté Smith, Simons, Wells, Hall and Jahquil Hill via a WhatsApp group.
“I’ve had people trying to get me over to the MLS as well, but I said ‘no, I’ll give England another few years to try to do something bigger’.
“I learnt about the football world at Forest Green; not necessary how to play but how the game works in regards to what it takes to be in a team.
“They sacked the manager [Ady Pennock] who brought me to the club and there were a lot of things going on that I didn’t like.”
Wells, meanwhile, scored in Huddersfield 4-1 win in a training-ground friendly against League Two side Accrington Stanley at the weekend.
Elias Kachunga and Jack Payne, both new signings, found the net as did Rajiv van La Parra.
• The Bermuda Football Association in conjunction with its women’s committee is launching a Women’s League for players 15 years and older later this month.
The league will consist of four teams with players being drafted onto teams. All players are required to register by Wednesday, July 20, and attend an identification combine on Saturday, July 23, at 3pm.
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