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Nahki follows in Goater and Lightbourne’s footsteps

Nahki Wells will become the third Bermudian footballer to play in a Wembley Stadium final when Bradford City travel to the famous stadium next month.

Former professionals Kyle Lightbourne and Shaun Goater are proud to welcome him to the club, having experienced the joy along with thousands of other Bermudians as they watched Bradford hold on for a 4-3 aggregate win over Premier League team Aston Villa to become the first bottom division team to reach a major Wembley final.

Both Lightbourne and Goater played at England’s premier football ground, Lightbourne in 2000 with Stoke City in the Auto Windscreens final and Goater with Rotherham United in the same competition final in 1996 and again in the League One playoff final in 1999 with Manchester City against Gillingham. Bradford’s achievement means that a Bermudian will play in a major knockout final at the new Wembley Stadium for the first time, after Lightbourne and Goater achieved it at the old Wembley Stadium.

“This is a fantastic achievement for Bradford City, it’s a lot harder road to get to a final and they’ve beaten three Premier League teams to get there,” said Lightbourne who helped Stoke beat Bristol City 2-1 before being substituted in the last minute. “Everyone in his team has played their part.”

Wells’ stock has risen this season with his 17 goals for Bradford, and even more during the League Two club’s run to the Capital One League Cup final. Clubs have taken notice and Bradford will be hard-pressed to hang on to their top scorer.

“He probably won’t move now in the transfer window,” said Lightbourne of the transfer period which ends on January 31. “The game is in February (24th) so he may have to wait until the end of the season to get a move.

“He’s done himself no harm, when I was in England over Christmas a couple of people approached me and said they had been well impressed with Nahki. He’s definitely got a lot of clubs looking at him and he just has to keep putting in those good performances. He’s got a reputation of being one of the best strikers in the lower leagues, one thing they’ll be looking at is consistency and he showed that over the last two seasons.

“It’s definitely great for the Island and it gives people a buzz and it is what’s needed.”

Goater, whose goals helped Manchester City gain promotion to the Premier League, is confident Wells is set for the big time in English football. From his own experiences he knows that playing at Wembley will be a great experience for the 22 year old.

“I’m excited about it all and what’s really strange about it all — speaking for myself — is it took me several years to get there, while it came at such a young age for him getting to Wembley,” said Goater. “There are many players who played for 12 and 15 years and have not been to Wembley.

“They rode their luck and went on and beat three Premiership teams and deserve to be there. It takes luck but it also takes belief and tactics and the tactics worked.

“It’s a great opportunity because it gives you a platform to go on and achieve great things. He’s managed to achieve it so early in his journey. What he’s done is continue to keep Bermuda on the map in regards to quality players coming from Bermuda. He continues to fly the flag and do us all proud.”

Shaun Goater and Kyle Lightbourne are proud of the achievements of fellow Bermudian Nahki Wells.

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Published January 23, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 22, 2013 at 8:36 pm)

Nahki follows in Goater and Lightbourne’s footsteps

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