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Cuba up first for Bermuda in cup

Bermuda will face Cuba in their opening group match of the first -round qualifiers of the Caribbean Cup in Cuba, the Bermuda Football Association announced yesterday.

The island's senior national team will face group three rivals Cuba on March 22nd before taking on French Guiana in the their final round robin match at the National Sports Centre on March 26.

All qualifying dates 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 if they are fit.

The BFA also announced that the squad will travel to St Kitts and Nevis for training and play a full international friendly against their hosts later this month.

The Royal Gazette revealed last week that Bermuda could play St Kitts and Nevis in a friendly as part of their Caribbean Cup preparations before the competition gets under way in March.

Bermuda are ranked 159th in the Fifa world rankings, 40 places below St Kitts and Nevis who will also be involved in first-round Caribbean Cup qualifiers.

St Kitts and Nevis have been pitted in group one along with Antigua and Barbuda and Aruba and will kick off their qualifying campaign against the latter on March 26.

Meanwhile, the format of the Caribbean Cup has been altered with countries now to play against each once rather than the original format which would have featured home and away legs.

Each match must also have a winner, with extra time and penalty kicks in the event a game is level after 90 minutes.

Another amendment to the format now sees only the top two countries from each of the seven groups advancing to the second round to be played May 15th to 21st, and not the top two plus the next best team as originally planned.

The third round of the competition will be played October 3 to 11, with the finals to take place in 2017.

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

Bermuda's national team 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.

Bermuda have not played since bowing out in the second round of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers after losing to Guatemala 1-0 on aggregate in the home and away series.

• The Bermuda School Sports Federation All-Star matches will take centre stage at the National Sports Centre today.

The day's proceedings will feature the East v West middle school girls and primary school boys fixtures at North Field, beginning at 4pm.

The BSSF All-Star matches continue on Friday at the same venue with the middle school boys match kicking things off at 4:40pm followed by the senior girls and boys fixtures to be held at 6pm and 7:30pm.

Caribbean adventure: four days in March will decide Bermuda's cup fate (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published February 02, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated February 01, 2016 at 8:40 pm)

Cuba up first for Bermuda in cup

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