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High-flyer Clemons ready for national duty

Clemons is one of several players returning from abroad for the match (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Willie Clemons is looking forward to another match for Bermuda after flying in yesterday from school for his country’s friendly against Canada.

Clemons is one of several players returning from abroad for the match, having only just gone back to the United States after spending the holidays at home and helping his club team, BAA, retain the Shield Trophy.

“I’m at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine, and as far as the game is concerned I’m excited,” the forward said. “It’s always nice to get a cap for your country and this will be my third one.

“I would love to get an extended run and stamp my position in the national team for some years to come.”

It is understood that Canada are bring a group of young players who preparing for their preseasons in North America.

“I heard they are bringing out a young team so that will give us a chance to compete — not that we can’t compete with older players — to use this as a benchmark to see how we compare to other nations,” Clemons said.

Clemons was surprised to hear that BAA thrashed Southampton Rangers 10-0 in the FA Cup first round last weekend.

“I was very pleased to hear that scoreline,” he said. “I had a feeling they would win so when I checked it out with the group, I was like, ‘Are you sure?’

“The programme that Kenny [Thompson, BAA director of football] has set up with the youth I’m excited to see, hopefully some of them can get some chances abroad.”

Lightbourne, the coach of the under-20s team that will travel to Costa Rica for the Concacaf Championships next month, is in temporary charge for Sunday’s match.

“A few of them will probably be involved but the squad will mainly be senior players and a sprinkling of under-20s,” Lightbourne said. “It’s an opportunity for those who haven’t been involved at senior level to try to see if they can play at that level.

“We’re just trying to identify what works for Bermuda. We know we have the pace but we have to be able to do the dirty side of the game when we don’t have the ball.

“A lot of the players have had some experience overseas so they know what playing at a high level brings with it. There’s a couple more guys coming back like Jahquil Hill, the goalkeeper, and Killian Elkinson, so we should have a decent team.”

Lightbourne said his tactical approach is similar to that of Bascome.

“They’re not going to get a message from me and a different message from coach Bascome,” Lightbourne said.