First Covid, now this: double injury blow for Bermuda
Bermuda’s preparations for their opening 2022 World Cup qualifiers have suffered yet another big blow.
Already challenged by Covid-19 restrictions, Kyle Lightbourne, the national coach, is now without two key players for the opening qualifiers against Canada and Aruba in March.
Tre Ming has been ruled out with a torn meniscus while fellow midfielder Osagi Bascome has seriously injured his anterior cruciate ligament.
Both players will require surgery and are facing a long recovery.
“Obviously that’s disappointing,” Lightbourne said. “Tre is someone that definitely knows the ins and outs of the international game, so we will definitely miss him. Hopefully he will be OK come the summer.
“Osagi had damaged his ACL prior to the season starting, so his injury has been a while.
“I think he has either undergone an operation or is about to, and so he will not be available. His injury is probably a long-term injury.”
Lightbourne added: “Injuries are a part of the game but we just have to have more players to pick from that are ready and what’s their capabilities at this level.
“That’s going to be the difficult part of when you are trying to replace two players of that calibre; that’s not going to be easy.”
Bermuda, who were meant to begin qualifying in October but had been delayed by the global pandemic, will now open with a match away to group B favourites Canada on March 25. That will be followed five days later by a match against Aruba at the National Sports Centre.
The absence of Ming and Bascome has paved the way for others.
“It will be an opportunity for others to step up,” Lightbourne added.
“We have a lot of good players in Bermuda, we just have to get them up to speed at playing international level. That’s probably the biggest thing there, playing week in week out at a higher pace.
“The same things happen in games, no matter what level you play. It’s just a matter of playing at a higher level of pace and consistency.”
Earlier this week, Lightbourne revealed that he may be forced to name an entirely locally based squad for the qualifiers, as Covid-19 restrictions continue to dictate preparations.
Because of the ever-changing effects of Covid-19, the former PHC and Coventry City striker admitted he remains in the dark as to what restrictions will be in place come March, including issues surrounding quarantine periods for overseas-based players travelling between nations.
As well as the issues of travelling to Canada, Lightbourne is also aware that the recent spike of positives cases on island could result in stricter travel restrictions in Bermuda, preventing some players travelling home in the first place, let alone featuring in the opener or against Aruba.
He conceded the squad may not be afforded any real preparation, including his hope for two friendlies before March, with the fear of further restrictions being implemented.
That could also include the threat of the domestic season being suspended indefinitely, with action already being halted until at least December 22 owing to the rise in cases on island.