Bermuda beef up for Under-20 World Cup qualifiers
Bermuda have travelled to Haiti with an experienced-looking squad for the Caribbean Under-20 Championship.
Kyle Lightbourne’s 19-man party left the island on Monday and will start as overwhelming favourites when they face Cayman Islands today in their opening match in group three of a tournament that serves as the first phase of qualifying for the Under-20 World Cup.
Also included in Bermuda’s group are host nation Haiti and Anguilla.
Several of Bermuda’s squad have been involved at the senior level, with Jahquil Hill, Osagi Bascome and Zenwali Bowen having travelled to French Guiana this month for the decider in the Scotiabank Caribbean Cup second-round group stage. Bermuda suffered elimination from that competition after losing 3-0.
Also named in the under-20 squad is forward Jahnaze Swan, who played for Bermuda in a friendly match against Grenada at the National Stadium in March last year.
Goalkeeper Hill, midfielders Paul Douglas and David Jones Jr, and forward Tehvan Tyrell have cut their teeth in England at non-League side Ilkeston, while Jahtino Richardson-Martin, of Dandy Town, and Somerset Trojans’ Jaz Ratteray-Smith are among the prominent locally based players.
There is also a place in the squad for teenager Nathan Rego, who struck 20 goals in all competitions to help Somerset Eagles win promotion last season.
Bascome, who plays for Levante’s youth team in Spain, Jahkari Furbert, Tahzeiko Harris and Amar Lewis were part of the Bermuda Under-15 side that competed at the Concacaf Championships in Cayman Islands in 2013.
Lightbourne will be assisted in Haiti by Andrew Bascome, who stepped down as Bermuda coach after the defeat by French Guiana.
The first three groups have already been decided with Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago finishing top to advance to the final round to be in held in Curaçao in October.
The best three runners-up from the four groups will also qualify. Saint Lucia have already secured their stage passage, having taken seven points from their three games, while Cuba and Dominican Republic both finished on six points. Regional powerhouse Jamaica have been eliminated on goal difference after placing third in group four with six points.
Meanwhile, Reggie Lambe has been introduced to his new team-mates during the third day of pre-season training at Sky Bet League Two side Carlisle United.
Lambe missed Carlisle’s first day of pre-season after he was given extra time off to recover from playing for Bermuda in the Caribbean Cup.
Keith Curle, the Carlisle manager, and his backroom team subjected their new-look squad to a gruelling session at Creighton Rugby Club ahead of the new campaign, which starts in six weeks.
New signings, existing players, youth-team hopefuls and one unnamed triallist were put through a yo-yo test — also known as the bleep test — to examine their endurance.
Lambe, who signed for Carlisle from Mansfield Town this month, has not had a summer break, having captained the island in the Caribbean Cup second round. He turned down a new deal at Mansfield Town, who were hoping he would stay at Mill Lane.
Bermuda: D Bell, J Hill, C Neal, J Furbert, R Sampson, T Harris, J Richardson-Martin, A Simons, A Lewis, P Douglas, Z Bowen, O Bascome, L Evans, D Jones Jr, D Dowling, N Rego, T Tyrell, J Ratteray-Smith, J Swan
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