Lambe: we have a point to prove in Caribbean
Bermuda's new-look squad headed to the Caribbean yesterday where they will play two in friendlies against Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados in the space of four days.
Coach Kyle Lightbourne's side face Antigua tomorrow and Barbados on Sunday.
Lightbourne, who remains the interim coach, has made six changes to the squad he named for their friendly at home to Barbados in October. Bermuda lost that match at the National Stadium 3-2.
Liam Evans, the former Bermuda Under-20 captain, Kane Crichlow, Cecoy Robinson, Jahquil Hill, Justin Donawa and Naeem Griffith have replaced for Danté Leverock, Tyrell Burgess, Ian Coke, Tre Ming, Mazhye Burchall and Dashun Cooper in the 19-man squad.
Bermuda will once again be captained by Carlisle United winger Reggie Lambe, who said it is vital for the team to get some victories under their belt and build momentum for their upcoming Concacaf Nations League matches. They open their qualifying campaign away to Aruba in September before facing Sint Maarten and El Salvador at home, in October and November. They will close out the group stage with an away tie against Dominican Republic next March.
“It's time for us to get some momentum going and we have to win the next couple of games,” Lambe told The Royal Gazette.
“I don't know too much about the Antigua side, but I know they have a couple of players based in England who will be playing.
“We should have beat Barbados at home but didn't, so we will be looking to make amends against them.”
Lambe remains optimistic that Bermuda can come away with positive results against Antigua (139) and Barbados (152), who are both placed above Bermuda (184) in the Fifa rankings.
“Rankings aren't accurate, really, since we haven't played as many games as other countries,” Lambe said. “But hopefully after the games we can move up a few spots.”
Oakville Blue Devils, the Ontario League 1 Champions, will play two matches on the island next month to help prepare Bermuda for their Concacaf Nations League qualifiers.
The matches will be against a Bermuda Select and a Premier Division All-Star Select will be for the Elite Men's Cup as part of the third annual Bermuda Triangle Cup, hosted by Bermuda Sports Management Group.
The first match on April 19 will be held at the National Stadium, while the second will take place at Goose Gosling Field three days later.
Those players already in the Bermuda set-up and others on the fringe will be able to use the matches to put themselves in the frame for the four Nations League matches, as will be the case during the trip to the Caribbean.
“Expectations are high and a few of the players coming back into the squad have points to prove,” Lambe added. “They want to make sure they are selected for the next round of games, as well as the Nations League.
“The pool of players we have is very good and it's all about choosing the best squad of players, so taking your opportunity when you're in the squad is vital.”