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Lightbourne had to cope with death of family member

Kyle Lightbourne

Perhaps the biggest obstacle Kyle Lightbourne faced throughout Bermuda’s historical debut at the Concacaf Gold Cup was coming to grips with the sudden death of a family member on the eve of the tournament.

Troy Darrell, the brother of Lightbourne’s wife Rosemarie, died from a heart attack on June 15, the day before Bermuda’s group opener against Haiti at the Estadio Nacional in Costa Rica.

“I found out that my brother-in-law passed away in England and we’re just hours away from playing our first game,” Lightbourne recalled.

“He passed away suddenly because he wasn’t suffering from anything, so it was a real shock to the everyone. He is going to be sadly missed because Troy and I were close.

“Troy had been on dialysis on and off for probably 25 years and my wife Rosemarie donated a kidney to him probably 15 years ago.”

Darrell received his second kidney transplant from his sibling in 2001 in a hospital in Birmingham after the first kidney he received six years previously from someone who had died was rejected.

Despite the painful loss, Lightbourne made the difficult decision to stay with the team.

“I just knew it was nothing that could do about it other than give the support to family,” he said.

“It was a difficult moment, but I had to quickly deal with it in my own way.

“I had things to do, so there were always things that were keeping me busy then when you get a quite moment to yourself you’re like, ‘wow’ and then you get a message of condolence from someone which brings it back.

“It was a difficult moment and I didn’t want the players to really know about it. I don’t even know if they knew, but I told the coaching staff and we just moved on. The coaching staff were tremendous supporting me.”

Bermuda finished third in group B behind Haiti and Costa Rica, the two qualifiers, to miss out on advancing to the next round.

Lightbourne’s team suffered 2-1 losses to Haiti and Costa Rica in Texas before recording a 2-0 win over Nicaragua in New Jersey.

“I know Troy would have been watching and looking forward to seeing Bermuda play at that level,” Lightbourne added. “I know he would have been watching all the matches.

“He loves football and is a big Chelsea supporter as well so we always had a little battle.”