Lightbourne: Bermuda on verge of history
Kyle Lightbourne says the morale in the camp is positive after the Bermuda team concluded a whirlwind training camp in Florida yesterday.
Lightbourne and his coaching staff put the players through their paces during the three-day trip in preparation for their final Concacaf Nations League qualifier against the Dominican Republic at the Estadio Cibao in Santiago on Sunday.
“Our trip over here has been pretty good,” Lightbourne said.
“The first day of training we had a lot of rain and the pitch we had booked was unavailable because of the weather. We managed to train at an indoor facility.
“Then the next day we secured an artificial pitch, the same surface that we're playing on [at the Estadio Cibao], and we had a very good session.
“The mood among the players is very good right now. We have one more session before we leave today [yesterday] to go to the Dominican Republic and we're just trying to time everything right.”
Lightbourne's team are seventh in the standings with two wins from three games and in a strong position to qualify for the Gold Cup for the first time. The top ten teams advance to this year's Gold Cup in the United States, a biennial competition for teams in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Bermuda enter the game knowing a win will be enough to achieve their goal.
“I think this is the biggest game in Bermuda's history by far,” Lightbourne added.
“This is the beginning of the Nations League. Just think of it ten years down the line what it will be like if Bermuda can play at a high standard of international football.
“This is where players will be able to showcase their ability at the highest level in a full international and not a friendly here or there. Hopefully that will filter to impact our domestic league.”
The bulk of Bermuda's squad is based overseas, with Nahki Wells, Reggie Lambe, Jonté Smith, Willie Clemons, Roger Lee, Zeiko Lewis, Justin Donawa and Danté Leverock among the professionals. Lightbourne was forced to make a change to his squad after PHC Zebras midfielder Keishon Bean injured his knee against Dandy Town last weekend. He has been replaced by defender William White.
Bermuda lost 3-1 away to Aruba in their opening qualifier before thrashing Sint Maarten 12-0 and beating El Salvador 1-0 at the National Stadium.