Lewis excited to face Mexico and Panama
Just when you figured Zeiko Lewis's week could not get any better, it just did.
The Bermuda midfielder has been named in the Concacaf Nations League qualifiers team of the tournament, the announcement coming days after he scored in Bermuda's 3-1 win away to Dominican Republic last weekend.
Bermuda finished fifth in the standings to secure a berth in League A of the competition, where they will meet Mexico and Panama in group B, in addition to qualifying for the Gold Cup for the first time.
“Mexico and Panama ... I would never have imagined this a few years ago,” said the Charleston Battery forward. “Now it's time for us to show what we've got.”
Speaking on his selection for the team of the tournament, Lewis added: “I'm truly blessed to be a part of something great.
“Without my team-mates and coaches, none of this would have been possible, so I have all of them to thank for this.
“It wasn't my individual efforts but the team's that got us this far.”
In acknowledgement of Lewis's honour, the Bermuda Football Association, tweeted: “Congratulations and Well Done @babypinkz_12 @CNationsLeague Team of the Tournament.”
After falling behind to a fortuitous third-minute strike from Enmy Pena, Bermuda rallied with Lewis equalising shortly after, before second-half goals from Nahki Wells and substitute Justin Donawa.
“It was just nice to contribute to the team as a whole,” said Lewis, who finished as Bermuda's top scorer in the Nations League qualifiers with four goals. There were a lot of emotions going through the team. Everybody was really excited we won the game, which was the most important thing. For a lot of us, it still hasn't hit. I don't think it will hit until we're actually on the big stage [at the Gold Cup].
“It's an unbelievable achievement and the support from back home makes it even more exciting for us. We all just knew that it was just our moment.”
Bermuda have home and away fixtures against Mexico and Panama to look forward to in the Nations League. Both teams qualified for the World Cup in Russia last year, with Mexico reaching the Round of 16 while Panama were eliminated at the group stage. Panama held Brazil to a 1-1 draw in Portugal last week.
The group phase matches will be played during three Fifa international windows: September 6 to 11, October 7 to 15 and November 11-19. League A is split into four pools of three with the winner of each group advancing to the semi-finals. The bottom team in each pool will be relegated to League B.
Group A of League A includes the United States, Canada and Cuba, group C features Honduras, Trinidad & Tobago and Martinique, while group D is made up of Costa Rica, Haiti and Curaçao.
“It's a statement of what we have achieved to play against top-quality teams such as Mexico and Panama,” Danté Leverock, the Bermuda captain, said. “We will be testing ourselves as individuals and as a team.”
The Gold Cup, which will be held from June 15 to July 7 in the United States and Caribbean, is a biennial competition for teams in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The draw will be made in Los Angeles on April 10.