Kyle Lightbourne relishing time in the middle
Bermuda will crank up their 2022 World Cup qualifying preparations when they face Bahamas at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, today.
The friendly between the Concacaf rivals will enable Kyle Lightbourne’s team to get precious minutes on the pitch in a competitive match, which they have been deprived of lately because of Covid-19 restrictions.
“What we’re looking to get out of it is mainly minutes under everyone’s belts,” Lightbourne told The Royal Gazette. “That’s all we’re looking for, just minutes.
“The players are comfortable with the surface that we’re playing on, and we’re looking forward to the outing that we should have.”
Lightbourne has been forced to rely on a predominantly locally based squad as Covid-19 restrictions continue to dictate preparations.
Bermuda are seventeenth in the Concacaf rankings, 16 places above Bahamas.
They romped to a convincing 3-0 win over Bahamas in a World Cup qualifier at the National Stadium in 2015 in the previous meeting between the two nations.
Today’s fixture is the first of back-to-back meetings between Bermuda and Bahamas in the space of three days.
The national team arrived in Florida on Tuesday for a mini-camp at the IMG Academy, the world’s largest and most advanced multi-sport training and educational institution. They are due to return home on Monday.
“We are preparing well,” Lightbourne added. “We’ve had two training sessions now, which went fairly well.”
Bermuda will face Canada in their opening World Cup qualifier at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando on March 25.
The fixture was moved from Canada 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 are also scheduled to host Aruba at the National Sports Centre on March 30, with group B matches to follow at home to Surinam on June 4 and away to Cayman Islands on June 8.