Captain Wells eager to play against Bahamas
The injured Keishen Bean is a provisional inclusion in the Bermuda team that will travel to Bahamas next weekend for the first leg of their 2018 World Cup qualifying match.
Keishen Bean, the North Village midfielder, who missed the games against Grenada with a hamstring injury has been included in the 20-man squad, but will have to come through his side's Premier Division match against Somerset Trojans unscathed. Bean is one of seven local-based players chosen to travel to Bahamas.
Also named in the squad released by the Bermuda Football Association yesterday are 13 overseas-based players, including captain Nahki Wells who is also sidelined through a shoulder injury which has kept him out of his club, Huddersfield Town's last three matches.
The Bermuda striker suffered a sprained sternoclavicular joint, an injury more associated with playing rugby than football, in a head-on collision with Adam Federici, the Reading goalkeeper,
“I just spoke with him, we are hopeful that he will return to playing prior to the Bahamas matches,” Richard Todd, the BFA's National Academy director, said yesterday. “The club will keep us updated on his status, but he is eager to be involved. We will continue to monitor him over the next week.
“He's been named as captain and is quite eager to play. There are two match opportunities for him to play prior to the Bahamas trip so we would like to see him return.
“The club will advise us and then we will discuss with Nahki accordingly, but at the moment it looks like he is on track to make a return in time for the Bahamas matches.”
Wells is joined in the squad by fellow professionals Reggie Lambe, Freddie Hall, Dale Eve, Jonté Smith and Rai Simons, though another pro, Taurean Manders, who captained the team in their first match against Grenada, has not been included. There is also no place in the squad for Antwan Russell, the Robin Hood striker, who is one of the standby players along with Manders.
“We have a list of standby players who will be ready for selection if required,” Todd said. “Keishen's prognosis is not as bad as initially feared and we will put him through a fitness test this weekend and assess him coming through North Village's Premier Division match.”
Several college students have also be named, including Tre Ming, Danté Leverock, Marco Warren, Zeiko Lewis and Mauriq Hill.
“Tre was exceptional in his performance [against Grenada] which probably earned him his selection,” Todd said. “The competition for places is quite keen, the coaches were spoiled in having the luxury of a lot of choices and the natural reaction of a player is to be disappointed in not been picked.
“Every player wants to play but the talent of this group is at an extremely high level so it was not easy for the coaches to narrow it down. Those players not involved at this moment, it does not mean that in the second round they cannot be included.”
Added Todd: “We want to encourage those players to continue to train hard and fight for a place in the team and when they get their chance to take it well.
“That's what it should be like at the national level. With each match I believe this team is going to get better.”
Andrew Bascome, the head coach, will be assisted by Maurice Lowe and John Barry Nusum while they also have a goalkeeping coach in John Moreira, Bermuda-born but now living in Canada where he runs the Eurostar Goalkeeping Academy. Todd is also a part of the coaching staff as director.
The team is scheduled to leave for the Bahamas on March 22, with the match set for March 25, before the second leg in Bermuda on March 29.
Goalkeepers: Freddie Hall (Telford FC), Dale Eve (Stoke City)
Defenders: Tyrell Burgess (North Village), Danté Leverock (BAA), Jaylon Bather (Robin Hood), Jalen Harvey (DePaul University/NVCC), Jarreau Hayward (St George’s)
Midfielders: Tre Ming (Thomas College/PHC), Drewonde Bascome (Devonshire Cougars), Keishan Bean (North Village), Mauriq Hill (Clemson University/HPWC), Marco Warren (Flagler College/PHC), Zeiko Lewis (Boston College/YMSC), Reggie Lambe (Mansfield Town), Justin Donawa (Berkshire School/Somerset Trojans), Jahnai Raynor (PHC), Cecoy Robinson (PHC).
Forwards: Jonté Smith (Floy IL), Nahki Wells (Huddersfield Town), Rai Simons (Ilkeston FC).
On standby: Antwan Russell (Robin Hood), Donte Brangman (East Tennessee State University/Southampton Rangers), Lejaun Simmons (Robin Hood), Taurean Manders (Sholing FC), Stefan Dill (University of Leicester/BAA), Terrance Webb (Dandy Town), William White (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Casey Castle (Hamilton Parish).