Lambe availability a major boost ahead of Canada test
Reggie Lambe is counting the days before he can finally rejoin his Bermuda team-mates on the football pitch.
The Stowmarket Town forward is set to provide a major boost to Kyle Lightbourne’s squad that will face Canada in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifying match at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida on March 25.
“I have to quarantine for a couple of days, but it’s good to be back here,” Lambe told The Royal Gazette.
“I’ll start training [with team-mates] when I can. I’ll do some stuff in my room since I’m not allowed to leave. Things are different since the pandemic.”
Lambe returned to the island last week along with goalkeeper Dale Eve well in advance of the upcoming match in order to meet Covid-19 travel protocols in the United States paving the way for them to play. The pair have become available after their seasons in the English non-League ended early because of pandemic-related matters.
Lambe is looking forward to the opening World Cup qualifying match against Canada and reckons the island has a good chance for success.
“I’m excited about the game,” he said. “I think that we have a good chance as long as everyone is fit.”
Lightbourne has been forced to rely on a predominantly locally based squad as Covid-19 restrictions continue to dictate preparations amid growing doubt over the availability of overseas players such Nahki Wells, Milan Butterfield and Jonté Smith.
However, Lambe remains confident the local contingent of players that are called upon to fill the void will be equal to the task.
“I think the local boys are going to play a big part, especially with all of the regulations around people travelling,” he said. “I think they are very capable of it and I think they are going to step up and help us drive forward in the next match.”
Canada was originally scheduled to host the upcoming World Cup qualifier.
However, the fixture was moved to a neutral venue after the Canadian Government imposed stricter restrictions on travellers to combat a more contagious variant of the virus and suspended airline service to Mexico and all Caribbean destinations until April 30. No spectators will be allowed to attend.
Bermuda will host Aruba at the National Sports Centre five days after facing Canada on March 30, with group B matches to follow at home to Surinam on June 4 and away to Cayman Islands on June 8.
Bermuda is among 30 nations divided into six groups for the first round of World Cup qualifying within the Concacaf region covering North and Central America and the Caribbean.
The group winners will advance to a round of head-to-head knockout matches with the three winners joining Mexico, the United States, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Honduras in the final round.
The top-three teams from the eight-team final qualifying round-robin round will qualify directly to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The fourth-place team will qualify for a Fifa intercontinental play-off.
Meanwhile, Lambe and Eve have been ruled out of Bermuda’s training camp in Bradenton, Florida due to travel restrictions.
The Gombey Warriors are set to depart tomorrow for the IMG Academy where they will also play two friendly matches against the Bahamas during the training camp from March 2 to 8.
The exercise will enable Bermuda to get precious minutes on the pitch in a competitive match, which they have been deprived of lately because of Covid-19 restrictions.