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Canada experience to benefit youngsters

Impressive debut: Hill takes a goal kick during Bermuda’s match against Canada at the National Stadium at the weekend (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Kyle Lightbourne has praised the performances of his under-20 players in Bermuda’s 4-2 defeat to Canada in an international friendly at the National Stadium last weekend.

Lightbourne, who took charge of the senior team in the absence of coach Andrew Bascome — will lead the Bermuda Under-20 side in the Concacaf Championships in Costa Rica next month, with a number of his players gaining match experience against Canada.

Goalkeeper Jahquil Hill, of the Chesterfield International Academy, made his debut in goal, while fellow under-20 players Osagi Bascome, Zenawi Bowen, Rai Sampson, Oneko Lowe, Ajai Daniels and Keishon Bean also featured.

On the bench were Mikiel Thomas, Azende Furbert and Jahkari Furbert who are also expected to be named in the under-20 squad, which has been seeded in group C along with the host nation, Trinidad and Tobago, and El Salvador.

“I was pleased with Jahquil and I thought he did well,” Lightbourne said. “I couldn’t fault him for any of the goals and his handling was good. He made a couple of good saves at crucial times and that’s what you look for in a goalkeeper.”

Lightbourne was also impressed with Bean’s bright performance after coming on midway through the second period. The PHC Zebras winger become of the youngest debutants at just 16 years old.

“All of the subs were under-20 players; we’re pleased with that,” Lightbourne added. “Keishon Bean is just 16 years old and he came on and I thought he did quite well.

“Hopefully we can get some more games and I think the future is bright for Bermuda football.”

Bermuda begin their Concacaf Championships campaign on February 19 against Trinidad, who they beat 2-1 in a third-place play-off match at the Caribbean Football Union Under-20 finals in Curaçao in October.

Lightbourne’s side qualified for the Concacaf Under-20 Championship after finishing runners-up in their group at the CFU Under-20 finals, reaching the semi-final where they lost 3-0 to Haiti.

Bermuda face El Salvador in their second match on February 22 before taking on Costa Rica in their remaining group game on February 25. Mexico, the defending champions, Antigua and Barbuda, Honduras and Canada are in group A, while the group B teams are the United States, Panama, St Kitts and Nevis, and Haiti.