Lightbourne and Whitmore to renew acquaintances
Kyle Lightbourne will be reacquainted with former team-mate Theodore Whitmore when Bermuda travel to Jamaica next month to face the Reggae Boyz in a friendly match.
Lightbourne became a team-mate of Whitmore during a brief loan spell at Hull City, who were playing in the Second Division, in 2002.
Both men are at the helm of their national teams, with Lightbourne coaching Bermuda to their first appearance in the Concacaf Gold Cup last summer while Whitmore led Jamaica to Digicel Caribbean Cup glory in 2010.
“We’re in the same boat, really, just trying to do the best for our country,” Lightbourne said.
“It’s special that we have become coaches because if you look in the changing room [at Hull] 20 years ago, or however long it’s been, we probably didn’t see ourselves as coaches.
“If you asked the other players, they’d probably also say no because we didn’t look like coaches and national coaches who are doing a fairly good job for their countries. However, that’s the way the game goes.”
During his playing days, Whitmore was a key member of the Jamaica team that qualified for the country’s first and only World Cup in 1998 in France.
The former midfielder netted a brace in a 2-1 win over Japan at the World Cup, which was the Reggae Boyz’s only win in the competition.
Jamaica will meet Bermuda at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on March 11.
The match will serve as ideal preparation for Bermuda’s upcoming Concacaf Gold Cup qualifiers, as well as the resumption of the Nations League this year.
Bermuda reached the Gold Cup for the first time after finishing fifth in the competition’s qualifiers and recorded an historic 2-0 win over Nicaragua at Red Bull Arena in Jersey.
They were relegated from League A of the Nations League in November last year after suffering a last-minute 2-1 defeat away to Mexico in the final group game.
Lightbourne’s team will now face the winners between Bahamas and French Guiana in a home-and-away series in June for a place at the Gold Cup next year, to be held at a venue yet to be confirmed
Jamaica won promotion to the top tier of the Nations League after winning their group last November. They drew 1-1 against Guyana, beating Antigua and Barbuda 6-0 and Aruba 2-0.
Bermuda will likely be without some of their key players for the friendly as it falls outside of the international break, meaning professional clubs will not be obligated to release their players.
“This game is not quite in the window; it’s before the window, so it may have an impact on some of the players that are available,” Lightbourne said.
Michael Ricketts, the Jamaica Football Federation president, has confirmed that their squad will comprise of local-based players.
“We had a meeting with the local-based players, they will be given their opportunity, as the game against Bermuda will be essentially for looking at the quality of our local players with the intention of getting them into the national set-up,” he told the Jamaica Gleaner. “The local-based players will have their day.”
Jamaica are ranked 48th in the world, 120 positions above Bermuda in 168th.
Bermuda lost 3-2 to Jamaica in Kingston in a Caribbean Cup qualifier in the previous meeting between the two nations in 1997.
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