Donawa backs island to make flying start
Justin Donawa will miss Bermuda’s Concacaf Nations League opener against Aruba on Sunday because of injury, but has backed his team-mates to make a strong start in his absence.
The Bermuda midfielder, who is recovering from a stress fracture, has welcomed the regional competition and believes it will accelerate the development of smaller islands such as Bermuda and Aruba.
“I’m very thankful that Concacaf has taken this initiative not just for us, but other islands like Aruba,” Donawa told Concacaf.com.
“It’s a good opportunity for players to improve. It’s a great initiative and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.”
Donawa, who attends Dartmouth College in Hannover, New Hampshire, is confident Bermuda can compete with any team in the region. Aruba are ten places below Bermuda in the Fifa world rankings in 188th position.
“We’re looked at as underdogs, but we’re talented,” said the Somerset Trojans player.
“We’ve competed versus countries like Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago. We just need to play our football and fight for one other. The whole country will be watching, so we want to show we can compete and improve.”
“All the guys have been training, whether on their own or with their clubs. We have a solid group and everyone is on the same page. They’ll be ready.”
Also missing through injury is Marco Warren, the PHC midfielder, who picked up an ankle knock while training with Bermuda.
Coach Kyle Lightbourne’s team face Aruba at the Stadion Ergilio Hato in Curaçao as Aruba’s home venue is unavailable.
Reggie Lambe, the Cambridge United forward, has been named as captain, with several other overseas professionals included in the 22-man squad such as Danté Leverock, William White, Willie Clemons and Zeiko Lewis.
There are also several newcomers in the squad such as Aaron Spencer, Liam Evans, Jahkari Furbert, Razir Smith-Jones and London Steede-Jackson.
The squad head to Miami today for a training camp before travelling to Curaçao.
Bermuda face Sint Maarten and El Salvador at the National Stadium, National Sports Centre, on October 12 and November 16 before finishing the qualifying phase with an away match against Dominican Republic on March 24.
Those matches will determine the three divisions for the Nations League, which starts in September 2019.
n Lambe scored in Cambridge’s 3-1 defeat away to Southend United in the EFL Trophy last night.