‘Biggest game in our history’
Nahki Wells says he and his Bermuda team-mates are “pumped up” for their crucial Concacaf Nations League qualifying match against the Dominican Republic at the Estadio Cibao in Santiago on Sunday.
Kyle Lightbourne's team are seventh in the qualifying standings with two wins from three games and in a strong position to qualify for the Gold Cup for the first time going into their final qualifying match.
The top ten teams advance to this year's Gold Cup in the United States, a biennial championship for teams in North, Central America, and the Caribbean region which Bermuda has never previously reached.
“We know the fixture in Dominican Republic is a vital one for us, of course,” said Burnley striker Wells, who is presently on loan at Championship side Queens Park Rangers.
“It is probably the biggest game in our country's history in a long time and we obviously know the task at hand and know we have to win.
“This is very important to the country and very important to us players because we all know what opportunities lie ahead if we can pull this off and qualify for the Gold Cup.
“We could be playing against the best nations in our region and we all know what exposure and impact it will have on Bermuda and the national team going forward.”
The fact that Bermuda's Gold Cup dream is alive owes much to Wells, who scored the winner from a 70th minute header in a 1-0 upset over El Salvador in their previous qualifying match at the National Stadium last November.
Bermuda departed for Florida yesterday where they will participate in a pre-match camp before travelling to the Dominican Republic.
“It's a great way to prepare as a nation and come together and get all our preparations prior to heading down to Dominican Republic,” Wells added.
“All the players are excited and pumped up and it seems to look like this is the most the BFA have done to prepare us and put everything in place.
“That means we can go and try to do the best we possibly can which is important.
“It's significant to all our futures as far as playing for our country, so we are all excited and preparing as much as we possibly can.
“In my eyes, this is just another football game, of course.
“However, this one holds a significant importance because it's for the country and it can bring plenty of good exposure and opportunities for other local players. We're all totally optimistic and very much looking forward to it.
“I would have loved to have played this game in Bermuda but, of course, we are away.
“But, as I'm led to believe, it should be a good following and good support from Bermudians that will be down there so that will play a significant part as well.”
Bermuda were forced to make a change to their squad on the eve of their departure after PHC Zebras midfielder Keishon Bean injured his knee during his team's 2-0 home loss against Dandy Town at the weekend.
A Bermuda Football Association spokesperson confirmed Bean had not travelled with the squad and revealed he has been replaced by 23 year-old defender William White.
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