Wade seeking cash injection
Bermuda Football Association are optimistic of securing more financial support on the back of the national team’s encouraging World Cup qualifying campaign.
With the Digicel Caribbean Cup on the horizon, Mark Wade, the player development committee chairman, believes it’s important the BFA build on the ‘feel-good factor’ surrounding the recent success of the national team.
A match against “high calibre” opposition has already been pencilled in for February 29 FIFA’s next international friendly date although Wade admits the Digicel preparations will largely be dictated by the BFA’s fund size.
Over the next few months he hopes the BFA can drum up more support from corporate Bermuda and claw back some Government funding having had their annual grant slashed in the previous Budget.
“Our qualifying campaign has given us plenty to build on and I’m ecstatic with the consistency we showed in our performances,” said Wade.
“The future is bright, I’m sure of that, but the biggest challenge facing us now is funding. The BFA will need greater financial support in the form of bums on seats, corporate funding and Government increasing what they’re already giving us.
“I think people are starting to believe in the things we’ve been doing over the last four years and that should turn around in some form of financial support.”
Wade admitted he had been left wondering what might have been considering Bermuda finished just three points behind eventual Group B winners Guyana.
Having dissected Bermuda’s qualifying displays, Wade believes it could have very easily been Devarr Boyles’ side topping the group ahead of the Golden Jaguars.
“Had we come back to Bermuda with a point or two from our opening two matches games against Trinidad and Guyana, maybe that would have done it for us.
“If we could have held on for a couple of more minutes against Guyana at home, maybe that would have done it for us as well. The standings show how close we were to advancing.”
Looking ahead to the Digicel Cup, Wade said he was confident Bermuda could achieve “something special” with their qualifying results suggesting they were more than a match for any Caribbean nation.
“Really, looking at Digicel next year, I can’t wait, I wish we were playing Digicel next week,” he said.
“I had a look at the qualifying results of our Caribbean rivals and I think we’re in a real good space right now. Bring on Digicel, I think we can do something really special.
“I’m more than confident, it’s just a matter of us logistically making sure we can get all of our players available.”
Bermuda were the biggest climbers in FIFA’s World Rankings last month, jumping up 57 places from 189 to 132. They are expected to break into the top 100 teams after their back-to-back wins over Barbados.
Wade reckons Bermuda’s vastly improved ranking will make them an attractive proposition for a regional powerhouse looking for a stern test ahead of the next qualifying stage.
The Concacaf teams advancing in the competition are Panama, El Salvador and Antigua and Barbuda; Canada, Guatemala and Guyana.
“We’re going to send out some invites and look to attract a top team to our shores. We will be able to point towards to our FIFA position and our CFU position, which will look a bit different now,” Wade said.
“The more attractive we are the better. We need to maintain or improve our FIFA ranking against teams who have already advanced in the qualifiers.”