Stars answer Bermuda call
Bermuda have assembled a national team squad packed with professional experience for their World Cup qualifying campaign, including UK-based trio Nahki Wells, Reggie Lambe and Freddy Hall.
Bradford City striker Wells, Northampton Town goalkeeper Hall and ex-Ipswich Town winger Lambe are all expected to make the trip to Trinidad for Bermuda's opening qualifier on September 2.
Also named in the provisional –40-man squad are ex-pros Khano Smith and John Barry Nusum who helped –inspire the Gombey Warriors to a shock victory in Trinidad three years ago.
Mark Wade, Bermuda Football Association's player development committee chairman, said he was confident the –Island's top players would make –themselves available for all six of the national team's Group B matches.
“At the moment we're doing our due diligence and checking on the availability of all the players included on our list. That includes the overseas professionals who have been named in the squad,” said Wade.
Overseeing Bermuda's qualifying campaign will be National Academy coaches Devarr Boyles, Scott Morton, Gary Darrell and Maurice Lowe, who have spent the past two seasons working with Bermuda Hogges' players.
One of those coaches is expected to be named as the team's head coach at tonight's BFA awards presentation; a decision largely based on each candidate's availability due to work commitments. It's understood the BFA might also seek advice from coaches outside the Academy stable to help them plot Trinidad's downfall.
“Scott Morton is currently the only National Academy coach on the Island, but all of our Academy coaches will be involved in the team's preparations,” Wade said.
“Our National Academy coaches have been working with our national team players as part of the Bermuda Hogges set-up for the past two years, so we're not concerned about our preparations. We're also working on a few other things which will be announced shortly.”
En-route to Trinidad, Bermuda's squad are likely to set up a training camp in Florida, a favourite pre-qualifying haunt of the national team, where they could play as many as three –friendlies.
“We're finalising a few things regarding friendlies,” said Wade. “We're hoping to build in some games into our –travel programme.”
Bermuda will have to top a group that includes Trinidad, Barbados and Guyana to advance to the semi-final of the region's qualifiers. All three of their second round opponents will dust off their respective cobwebs by taking on India's national team.
As part of India's tour of the Caribbean, they will meet Barbados on August 17, Trinidad on August 21 and Guyana on August 24.
Bermuda's Group B fixtures
Trinidad (a) September 2
Guyana (h) September 6
Trinidad (h) October 7
Guyana (a) October 11
Barbados (h) November 11
Barbados (a) November 15