Is there another Nahki in Bermudian football? – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Is there another Nahki in Bermudian football?

A new league season is about to begin but there's a sense that the spotlight will be on individual footballers rather than teams.

It's a team game and it's the eleven players on the field who will determine who lifts the various trophies.

Following the emergence of Nahki Wells and other Bermudians waiting in the wings, there's now the added incentive for locals to make an impression.

Very few will enjoy the success that Wells is experiencing now but he's inspired those in their teens or early 20s who believe they have been blessed with similar talent.

It's only a couple of years ago that Wells was spending his Sundays competing against the likes of North Village, Devonshire Cougars and PHC, wearing the brown shirt of Dandy Town, trying to excel on pitches anything but conducive to attractive football.

Perhaps it's a coincidence he now finds himself in the similar and distinctive strip of Bradford City.

Within the space of a few months he found himself twice playing at Wembley, the most revered ground of all.

Some might argue Wells didn't display exceptional skills in his youth. Others were equally talented.

He got breaks and made the most of them.

He's matured into the of best Bermudian player of the modern era.

Shaun Goater and Kyle Lightbourne have long retired from the professional ranks.

He's the man of the moment, he's scored more goals this season than anyone in Englan's League One, and he's being watched by just every team in the Championship, a division Bradford could well find themselves in a year from now. It's his rapid rise to stardom that will make those who playing here believe they can climb up the same ladder.

Jonte Smith, son of former national team cricket skipper Clay Smith — himself a useful player — has now been loaned out by Crawley Town to Havant and Waterlooville, a Conference South league sporting several full-time pros.

He could be the next Nahki.

Lower league side Ilkeston FC are offering opportunities to those Bermudians who are willing and prepared to show the necessary commitment.

Realistically few, if any, will be good enough to further a semi-pro or full professional career. The competition is daunting.

But they must have the same mindset to that of Wells.

Football in general is a far cry from the standard exhibited in Bermuda in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

However, there are still many who stand out in the crowd.

In a campaign that will kick off this weekend, they can cross the bridge that will separate them from the rest.

After that, who knows what might lay lie ahead.

* * * *

How odd is it that footballers actually have had to be told by referees that they can't wear body pierces — earrings, studs, bars or whatever it is they find attractive.

Watches have been banned for many years and similar attachments present the same danger.

A boot in the head — ask Wayne Rooney — can inflict a nasty gash. Imagine what a piece of metal hanging from the nose can do.

Pity FIFA can't also restrict the number of tattoos plastered across the arms of the modern day pros.

Each to his own but, in this writer's opinion, suddenly the ‘beautiful game' has come less beautiful.

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Published September 19, 2013 at 5:26 pm (Updated September 21, 2013 at 7:51 am)

Is there another Nahki in Bermudian football?

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