Clemons fighting fit for Aruba
Willie Clemons’s recovery from injury could not have come at a better time with the midfielder expected to play in Bermuda’s opening Concacaf Nations League qualifier against Aruba in Curaçao on Sunday.
Clemons had been doubtful after suffering a slight hamstring strain last month while training with club side Boden, who play in the Swedish fourth tier.
The former BAA player returned to action last weekend in Boden’s 2-0 win at home to Kramfors-Alliansen in the Swedish fourth tier, setting up both of his side’s goals.
Clemons, 23, has joined up with Bermuda’s 22-man squad, which travelled to Miami on Tuesday for a training camp before heading Curaçao to face Aruba.
The match, which kicks off at 7pm Bermuda time, has been moved to the Stadion Ergilio Hato in Curaçao because Aruba’s home venue is unavailable.
“I’m happy to be back and very excited to get the campaign started,” Clemons said. “I’ll do my best in whatever aspect I can.
“We’ve got a good squad, the core of which has been together for a while, so now we have some stability. We’ve shown previously that we can compete and do well. Now is the time to really put forward the best version of ourselves.
“Our programme has done really well this year with two youth teams [the girls’ under-15s and boys’ under-14] doing well.
“The women are competing at a high level. It’s our turn now as the ‘tip of the spear’ to build on these successes and continue to take football on the island to a higher level.”
Bermuda play back-to-back home matches against Sint Maarten and El Salvador, in October and November, before finishing their qualifying campaign with an away tie against Dominican Republic in March.
Those games will determine the three divisions for the Nations League, which starts in September 2019, as well as the ten remaining Gold Cup spots.
“The Concacaf Nations League is a great opportunity and everyone is ready and looking forward to doing something special this time out, and especially at home later in the year,” Clemons said.
Kyle Lightbourne, the Bermuda coach, said preparations in Miami have gone smoothly.
“Everyone is raring and ready to go,” Lightbourne said. “We’ve had some very good sessions and meetings, and everybody is lively and bubbly. We are very pleased with the way that things have been going with the players taking the information in.”
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