Clemons relishing facing top nations
Willie Clemons believes Bermuda must continue to relish facing the region’s biggest nations if they are to keep progressing as a squad.
Kyle Lightbourne’s side were handed a thumping 5-1 defeat in a group B match in the top flight of the Concacaf Nations League against Gold Cup champions Mexico at the National Stadium on Friday night.
The opposition showcased exactly why they are ranked twelfth in the Fifa world rankings.
Ahead of hosting Guatemala, who despite being ranked 133rd in the latest rankings, 34 places above Bermuda, find themselves in third tier of the Nations League, in a friendly today, Clemons was left far from demoralised after the defeat.
He chose instead to remain positive about the experience of facing such strong opposition.
“The match showed the level that we have to aspire to be at and strive to get towards,” said the midfielder, who plays his domestic football in Sweden for Bodens BK.
“Mexico are the number one side in the region and twelfth in the world for a reason and I think they showed exactly why that is.
“I don’t think we are really far off competing at that level. There are little aspects that we need to work on and fine-tune, but that is the major difference with the top teams and everyone else.
“We all relished the chance to play Mexico from the start.
“When we qualified for the Gold Cup campaign we all wanted Mexico in our group and so to be able to face them now is exactly what we want and need.
“We have to play against the best sides if we want to progress because there is nothing better than testing yourself against our region’s and the world’s best teams.”
Reflecting further on the defeat, Clemons believes lessons can be learnt ahead of today’s match, which will act as preparation for the reverse fixture against Mexico on November 19.
“Mexico are a top side and we knew we’d be up against it from the start,” Clemons added. “We fought hard, but we didn’t really do ourselves any favours with a number of mistakes that we made.
“In the first half, we were very much still in the game and it was shame to lose grip of the game in the second half.
“We’ve had the chance to challenge ourselves against the best team in our region and we’ll have another chance to do that. Hopefully, we can take some lessons from the defeat in our next fixtures.”
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