Lightbourne: we’ll do Bermuda proud
Kyle Lightbourne, the Bermuda Under 20 coach, said he has no doubts that his players will play to their potential and do the island proud at this month's Concacaf Under-20 Championship in Costa Rica.
Bermuda's 20-member squad, that was announced yesterday by Concacaf, includes Bristol City forward Osagi Bascome and Walsall midfielder Kacy Butterfield.
“This is the team we had in mind for quite sometime,” Lightbourne said. “I think we have a strong, balanced team to go and compete in this competition, and we're hoping they will do Bermuda proud.”
Bermuda have been pitted in group C along with Trinidad, El Salvador and hosts Costa Rica.
“This is not a holiday camp,” Lightbourne added. “This is the tournament we would really love to do well in and, for us as coaches and all the staff that's going down there, our job is to push these guys to get the best out of them that we can.
“All of the coaches know the players — their strengths and weaknesses — and that's very important for the coaching staff to know that of each player.”
Bascome and Butterfield lead a cast of overseas based players named in the squad that also includes Ilkeston trio Jahquill Hill, David Jones and Tehvan Tyrell.
“Hopefully they (overseas players) will bring back a lot of the experience they have been through in game situations,” Lightbourne said.
Four of the players named in the squad featured in the senior national team's 4-2 home defeat by Canada last month, including Bascome, goalkeeper Hill, defender Rai Sampson and forward Oneko Lowe.
On the bench were Mikiel Thomas, Azende Furbert and Jahkari Furbert who have also been included in Bermuda's Under-20 Championship set-up.
Hill is one of two goalkeepers in the team, the other being Detre Bell, whose selection had been in doubt after he fractured his arm in December.
“Detre is very experienced for his age and we are looking for both goalkeepers to push one another to get the best out of them,” Lightbourne said. “Our main thing is to make sure both of them are competing for a spot.”
One key player Bermuda will have to do without is defender Deondre Dowling, who has been ruled out through a leg injury.
“Deondre will miss the trip through injury and he was outstanding for us in Curaçao [at the Caribbean Under-20 Championship],” Lightbourne said. “He was solid playing at right back and was probably the player of the tournament for us.”
The squad depart the island on Tuesday and will play a warm-up match against as yet undisclosed opponents in Florida before arriving in Costa Rica on Friday.
“We haven't confirmed who we play as of yet,” Lightbourne said. “But the people we are dealing with are going to give us very good opposition.”
Bermuda begin their campaign a week tomorrow against Trinidad & Tobago, who they beat 2-1 in a third-place play-off match at the Caribbean finals, before facing El Salvador on February 22 and host nation Costa Rica on February 25.
Up for grabs in Costa Rica are four spots for the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea from May 20 to June 11.
All matches will be held at the Estadio Nacional and the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in San José, the Costa Rican capital.
Goalkeepers: Detre Bell, Jahquill Hill
Defenders: Azende Furbert, Tahzeiko Harris, David Jones, Jahtino Richardson-Martin, Rai Sampson, Arhia Simons
Midfielders: Osagi Bascome, Kacy Butterfield, Paul Douglas, Liam Evans, Amar Lewis, Jaz Ratteray Smith, Mikiel Thomas
Forwards: Mazhye Burchall, Jahkari Furbert, Oneko Lowe, Knory Scott, Tehvan Tyrell.
Coach: Kyle Lightbourne.