Bascome quits after Caribbean Cup loss
Andrew Bascome has stepped down as Bermuda coach after his team's elimination from the Scotiabank Caribbean Cup in Cayenne, French Guiana.
Bermuda needed to defeat French Guiana to keep their hopes alive of advancing to the third round of the competition, but came unstuck against a “far superior side” and were beaten 3-0 on Sunday night.
The final group four game was a rearranged fixture after the previous meeting between the sides was abandoned because of torrential rain, with Bermuda leading 1-0 thanks to a Damon Ming goal.
It appears Bascome had already decided to quit his role as soon as Bermuda's Caribbean Cup journey came to an end, believing his natural cycle as coach had run its course after four years at the helm.
He said it was time for a “younger man” to take charge and to prepare the team for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, but warned his successor there is plenty of work to do after watching his team's “technical deficiencies” exposed by French Guiana.
“It's time for someone else now,” said Bascome, whose resignation has not yet been confirmed by the Bermuda Football Association.
“I was brought in four years ago to prepare the team for this competition and I'm satisfied that I've done my best.
“It's been a great experience, I've travelled to countries I never thought I would see, and I'm grateful to the BFA for giving me that opportunity.”
Bascome said he considers his team's failure to advance to the third round as a missed opportunity and was “left wondering what might have been” had certain players shown a greater commitment.
“It's not been bad, but it could have better,” Bascome said. “There was not much more the players could have done in French Guiana and I'm very proud of the efforts of those who travelled.
“French Guiana are a good team, a technically superior team, and they were able to bring in three professional players from France who made an impact.
“I am left wondering what might have been had Nahki [Wells] and a few other players been available.”
In the absence of professional players such as Wells, Freddy Hall, Rai Simons and Dale Eve, Bascome felt his side lacked some extra knowhow against French Guiana.
He also suspects that some of the locally based players made themselves unavailable because they wanted to attend the Bermuda Heroes Weekend Carnival instead of playing for their country.
“We took two young goalkeepers to French Guiana [Jahquil Hill and Detre Bell] and there was a little bit of communication missing at the back,” he said.
“I'm not quite sure why Dale decided not to come. You then see pictures of him at the carnival on social media and it's a bit disappointing.
“We have a very small pool of players to pick from and we needed to take our best players.
“There's a lot of work to be done to get Bermuda football where it needs to be. We need to put in the extras.”
Another factor behind Bascome's decision to relinquish his coaching duties is his growing frustration at being detained at US Customs and Border Protection whenever he leaves the island.
Bascome has to obtain a waiver to travel to the United States after being charged with possession of a small amount of cannabis about 20 years ago.
“The travelling has become very difficult for me, as I get pulled over by customs every time I leave the island,” said Bascome, who aims to focus on his coaching at the ABC Football School at Saltus Grammar School.
“It happened at Miami [International Airport] and it's very embarrassing and insulting.
“It's not good for the young players to see their coach being treated that way. There's not much that's been done at this end to make it any easier, either.”
Bascome was appointed as Bermuda coach in 2012 ahead of the Digicel Caribbean Cup in Haiti. His team failed to qualify from their group, losing 2-1 to Puerto Rico and 3-1 to the host nation before finishing with an 8-0 thrashing of St Martin.
He then guided Bermuda to the gold medal at the 2013 NatWest Island Games at the North Field, National Sports Centre, beating 3-0 Greenland and the Falkland Islands 8-0.
Two years later he led Bermuda into the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, defeating Bahamas 8-0 on aggregate to advance to the second round, where they lost 1-0 on aggregate to Guatemala.
Bermuda reached to the second round of this year's Caribbean Cup after finishing as runners-up in their qualifying group after losing 2-1 away to Cuba before defeating French Guiana 2-1 at home.
Bascome was forced to stay in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with son Drewonde Bascome, the Bermuda midfielder, who were both stricken with a virus en route to French Guiana for the opening second-round group match.
The game was abandoned after 41 minutes because of a flooded pitch, with Bermuda returning home to face group winners Dominican Republic three days later, losing 1-0 at the National Stadium.
The second round of the competition featured five groups, with the winners and four best runners-up advancing to the third round in October.