Robinson on lookout for overseas players
Naquita Robinson, the Bermuda women’s coach, has declared her intention to cast the recruitment net wide and pick overseas players with Bermudian heritage.
Robinson said she has been inspired by the Jamaica model and will invite players of Bermudian descent to join the national programme and increase competition for places.
Bermuda failed to qualify for the Concacaf Women’s Championship after losing three of their four matches in the Caribbean final round in Kingston, Jamaica, last week.
Robinson has criticised her “entitled” players for lacking “heart and passion” and is prepared to axe underperformers and place her trust in youngsters.
“Our [local] girls are taking things for granted and I told my other coach [Aaron Denkins] this will be some girls’ last tour,” Robinson said.
“We need players to come out and play for us, because the coaches work very hard and make a lot of sacrifices. We have to regroup and work with the players that really want to work,”
It was Robinson who convinced Marly Christian to choose Bermuda over Jamaica after SportsMax, the Jamaican broadcaster, first interviewed the Maryland-born defender in 2014.
Christian, the team’s captain, had the chance to play for Jamaica, her father’s birthplace, but opted for Bermuda where she holds citizenship through her mother.
“I had a great conversation with the Jamaican coach [Merron Gordon],” said Robinson, whose side lost 3-0 to Trinidad in their final match on Sunday. “He cast the net and has players [who were born] overseas.
“It’s the same way we picked up Marley from Baltimore. We have given chances and chances to local players and it’s become an entitlement. It’s like they think, ‘they are going to pick us anyway’.
“But there are people outside Bermuda who see our younger teams doing well and say. ‘Hey, we want to play for Bermuda. We have ties to the country, we are playing, training and we take this game seriously.”
Robinson said she had already reached out to a pair of overseas-born players who are eligible for Bermuda.
“We are looking at two [overseas] girls who are looking to represent Bermuda,” she said. “One would have been on this trip [to Jamaica] but she had passport issues.
“We have three other girls, who were just not available for this trip, who would have made a difference. They will definitely strengthen this team.
“My young players will definitely be moving some of the older players out of their positions in 2019.”
Robinson feels it is time to tap into the talent at the junior level and believes there are several under-17 players ready to step up to the senior level.
Last month Bermuda won Division Two at the Concacaf Girls’ Under-15 Championship in Florida, while the under-17 team reached the corresponding championship this year.
“I am still optimistic about where we are heading in Bermuda as a programme,” she said. “But at the senior level, we are not there yet.
“The senior players now need to understand what the young girls [already] understand. I have five under-17s — if they were in this team, it would have been a different outlook.
“They may not be different results but you would have seen a different heart, passion, running and trying to win every ball; not giving up on their team-mates or themselves.
“We’re going to keep working. We will be back much stronger and much tougher.”
Christian has also expressed her disappointment about the lack of commitment shown by certain players in Jamaica.
“[The championship] talks a lot about our programme: the people who take it seriously and want to move it forward and the people who aren’t meant to be in these types of tournament,” said Christian, who also captains Howard University in Washington.
“The biggest [thing] to take away is realising what we can do to make sure we are better in these situations in the next qualification tournament.”