Coach wants wins to build momentum
Bermuda Under-20 coach Gary Darrell has challenged his team to win both of their games against Long Island Rough Riders as they look to build momentum ahead of next month's World Cup preliminary qualifiers.
Darrell admits he knows little about the Rough Riders but believes they will be of a similar standard to the opponents the Bermuda Hogges faced in the Premier Development League (PDL) last summer.
“I don't know too much about (Rough Riders) to be honest,” he said. “They're a PDL team so I imagine they will be similar to the teams the Hogges played last season. We expect them to be physical and probably a bit bigger than us.
“We're looking for two positive results because we want to go into the qualifiers in the best possible shape. We want to win both of these games, that's for certain.”
The former Washington Diplomats midfielder will have a strong squad to select from for the Christmas matches with overseas players Tahj Bell, Quadir Maynard, Dunte Albouy and Caisey Castle all available. Ipswich Town midfielder Reggie Lambe is keen to play and could feature in at least one of the games.
“A few of our local based players will miss the first game because they're off the Island for Christmas but most of our overseas players are back,” Darrell said. “Reggie (Lambe) has emailed me and he wants to play so that's something we're working on. It all depends on how long he is able to return home.”
Darrell's side face Guyana, Netherland Antilles and St. Vincent in the next phase of their qualifiers and must finish top of the group if they are to reach the 12-team Concacaf Championships which will be held in Guatemala in April. The Under-20s failed to grasp the sole automatic qualifying spot in the last round despite going unbeaten throughout the round robin tournament.
“We know we must finish top of the group which isn't going to be easy,” added Darrell. “I saw the Guyana senior national team play recently and if they're an indication of what's going on in their Under-20s programme then they will be a tough team to play against. I think we will have to be even better than we were when we played in Guadeloupe.”
The Rough Riders' opening game against the Bermuda Under-20s be will be at Wellington Oval on Monday, December 27, before meeting defending Premier Division champions Dandy Town at Somerset Cricket Club on Wednesday, December 29. They will round off their visit of the Island with another match against Bermuda Under-20s at St David's on New Year's Day.