Nesbeth snubs call-up for England dream
LeiLanni Nesbeth has ruled herself out of selection for the Bermuda women’s team for the final round of the Concacaf Caribbean Championship qualifiers as she wants to keep her England options open.
Nesbeth would likely have been included in the Bermuda team, who qualified for the final round of the Concacaf Women’s Championship in Guyana last weekend, had she been available.
The 16-year-old, who plays for the Brighton & Hove Albion Under-23 Development team, looks set to follow cricketer Delray Rawlins and footballer Nathan Trott in pursuing opportunities as a professional for England.
“I’m not exactly sure where the whole England thing is coming from,” said Nesbeth, a pupil at Bedes School in Sussex, where Rawlins was attended.
“It’s basically that because I’m young and want to keep my options open. It was always a topic when I told them I wasn’t available for the women’s and under-20 teams.
“I’m still only 16 and have options and opportunities in a lot of different places. At the moment I’d prefer to continue to grow as a player rather than look too far in the long term.”
Nesbeth was part of the England Independent Schools Football Association Under-18 National representative team who beat Scotland Independent Schools 3-0 in Edinburgh in February.
“Football has required a lot of commitment so I haven’t played a lot of cricket for the last couple of years, but I want to get back into it,” said Nesbeth, who knows Rawlins from when he attended Bede’s School in Sussex.
Nesbeth, who top scored with nine goals for the Bermuda Under-17 side at the Concacaf Caribbean qualifiers in Haiti last October, has joined up with her team-mates before they head to Florida next week for the final round of the rescheduled tournament, which was postponed after one match because of violence in Nicaragua.
Nesbeth, who has also represented the Sussex County Cricket Academy programme, is proud of the achievements of the under-17 side and senior team.
“It’s really good to the senior team follow the success of the under-17s and win their group,” Nesbeth said.
“We were playing under-15s together and there’s a lot of team cohesion, which has helped.”
Naquita Robinson, the Bermuda women’s coach, said that Nesbeth is a key member of the under-17 side.
“LeiLanni is pursuing a dream she has for herself,” Robinson said. “I’ve wished her good luck in this endeavour.
“She has made herself unavailable for selection and is solely focused on the under-17 tournament. Who knows what the future holds?
“We will continue to develop players and should she have a change of heart we will welcome her back with open arms.”
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