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Bermuda to host Barbados twice

Bermuda will play both of their remaining World Cup qualifiers against Barbados at the National Sports Centre as part of a mutually beneficial cost cutting exercise. The two teams had been scheduled to meet in a home and away double-header but the Barbados Football Association have requested to play both games on the road,

The Royal Gazette understands. Bermuda's opening game against the Bajan Pride will still be played on Remembrance Day at 3pm, while the second match, originally to be held in Barbados on November 15, will now take place a day earlier at the NSC. It is the second time Bermuda have made alterations to their Group B fixtures in an effort to tighten the purse strings. They had been meant to return to Bermuda to play Guyana after losing their opening qualifier against Trinidad in September, but ended up playing both games in the Caribbean because it worked out cheaper. In terms of the qualifying picture, both matches against Barbados resemble 'dead rubbers' with neither team able to secure the all-important Group B top position to advance to the next stage of the competition. Mark Wade, Bermuda Football Association's player development committee chairman, yesterday declined to comment on the fixture changes. 'We have a press conference tomorrow and I don't have a comment at this point,' he said. It's believed Bermuda will be without Northampton Town goalkeeper Freddy Hall for the Barbados matches. With Bermuda unable to qualify, the Cobblers coach Gary Johnson wants Hall available for their FA Cup tie away at Luton Town on November 12. Wade said the BFA were still waiting for confirmation on whether their overseas-based players would be available for the Barbados matches. 'We're still trying to piece together who is available and who is not as we're still waiting on responses from the overseas guys,' he said. Coached by Colin Forde, Barbados are rooted to the bottom of Group B having lost all four of their qualifiers and are still without a goal to their name. Bermuda, who are third in Group B with four points, are unbeaten at home having defeated Trinidad and drawn with Guyana last month. Bermuda last met Barbados more than three years ago in two home friendly games, which they won 2-1 and 3-0.

Bermuda defender Kevin Richards in action during his team's 3-0 victory over Barbados at the National Sports Centre in 2008. Bermuda face Barbados twice this month. (Photo by Akil Simmons)