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Bermuda chasing West Ham forward

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Bermuda still hope West Ham United's Djair Parfitt-Williams will choose to play for his country of birth and boost their Caribbean Cup qualification chances.

Andrew Bascome's side have been drawn alongside Cuba and French Guiana in group three in the first round, which starts in March, and would love to include Parfitt-Williams in their squad.

The forward has featured twice for West Ham's first team against Lusitanos of Andorra in the Europa League qualifiers last July, and was an unused substitute away to Aston Villa in the Barclays Premier League on Boxing Day.

Still only 19, Parfitt-Williams moved to California when he was eight and has previously indicated he would be keen to play for the United States rather than Bermuda.

Should he have a change of heart, Maurice Lowe, the Bermuda Football Association technical development director, said Parfitt-Williams would be “welcomed with open arms”.

“We wish Djair all the best and he has to make the best decision for his career,” Lowe said.

“But should he choose us then we would be tickled and enjoy that very much.

“We would love for him to opt to play for Bermuda, but he has to make the best and most-informed decision for his future.”

Parfitt-Williams has played a key role for West Ham's development team this season and scored in their 3-2 win at home to Fulham in the Under-21 Premier League Cup last week.

Considered one of West Ham's most exciting talents, he signed a two-year deal at the club after finishing as the top scorer for their under-18 side with nine goals last season.

He was playing for the San Jose Earthquakes academy when he was recommended to West Ham by Bermuda legend Clyde Best, who played for the East London club between 1968 and 1976.

Best, who had been contacted by the player's grandfather Lynn Wade, said he immediately spotted something special in Parfitt-Williams, who was then aged 14, during a Somerset Trojans training session.

“He's a good little player and West Ham rate him highly,” Best said.

“It's only a matter of time before he gets a [Premier League] game for them. As long as he's patient and hangs in there he will be OK.”

Asked whether he hoped Parfitt-Williams would pledge his international allegiance to Bermuda, Best said: “I try not to get involved in that sort of stuff. He would have to make that decision for himself. I'm not going to make it for him.”

The first-round qualifiers of the Caribbean Cup, featuring home and away legs, will be played between March 21 and 29, with the top two teams of the seven groups, plus the next best team, advancing to the second round in May.

The third round will take place in October, when Jamaica, Haiti, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago join the competition. The fifth-place play-off will be in November, with the finals to be held in May 2017.

The top four Caribbean teams will qualify for next year's Concacaf Gold Cup, which will be held from July 9 to 30.

All qualifying matches will take place on Fifa calendar dates, which means Bermuda will have the availability of their top players Nahki Wells, Rai Simons and Reggie Lambe, whose clubs are obliged to release them for international duty.

Bermuda have not competed in the Caribbean Cup since 2012 when Bascome's side, without several of their key players, failed to qualify from their group, losing 2-1 to Puerto Rico, 3-1 to host nation Haiti before finishing off with an 8-0 thrashing of St Martin.

• Nahki Wells will be in action tonight as Huddersfield travel to Reading for their FA Cup third-round replay. The first game finished in a 2-2 draw

Wanted man: Bermuda would love to be able to pick West Ham's Parfitt-Williams

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Published January 19, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated January 19, 2016 at 10:22 am)

Bermuda chasing West Ham forward

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