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Bermuda eyeing strong start against Costa Rica

Bermuda Under-20 coach Ray Jones

Bermuda will look to start their Concacaf Under-20 Championship qualifying campaign on a positive note when they face Costa Rica in their opener at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. today.

The island’s 20-strong squad have had a day to acclimatise to the conditions having arrived in the “Sunshine State” on Tuesday.

Bermuda have their work cut out for them against Costa Rica, who are the top seeds in the group, which also includes Haiti, St Lucia and Barbados.

The top team from the group will advance to the second round of two groups of three, which starts on November 13. The group winners will play in the final on November 21.

Unlike previous tournaments, which included regional qualifiers in the Caribbean and Central America and one final championship, the championships provide more top-level competition, with the top four finishers advancing to the Under-20 World Cup in Poland in 2019.

Bermuda’s squad is comprised of several players who helped the island reach the final qualifying round of the Caribbean Under-17 Championship in Trinidad and Tobago two years ago.

Ray Jones is the Bermuda coach and is being assisted by senior national coach Kyle Lightbourne.

Rahzir Smith-Jones has been named captain.

Bermuda made their first appearance at the under-20 championship during the previous tournament hosted by Costa Rica last year, which was the final qualifying stage for the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.

Knory Scott and Jahkari Furbert are the only survivors from that squad, which bowed out at the group stage.

Bermuda will meet Haiti tomorrow before facing St Lucia on November 7 and Barbados on November 9.