Sidelined Kyle Lightbourne unloads fury on CMO after positive Covid-19 test
Bermuda football coach Kyle Lightbourne smashed through the reporting stigma associated on island with Covid-19 by disclosing to The Royal Gazette yesterday that he contracted the potentially deadly disease this month.
Lightbourne, who did not experience any symptoms during his recovery, was one of the three new cases reported by the Bermuda Government last Saturday, in the wake of a Day 10 test that falls outside the Day 4/8/14 testing regime but is common for those involved in competitive international sport.
He subsequently has returned two negative tests, and pent-up frustration turned to fury when it was ruled that he could not travel with the Bermuda team for their opening World Cup qualifier against Canada, a crushing 5-1 defeat at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
Much of Lightbourne’s frustrations are directed at Ayo Oyinloye, the Chief Medical Officer, whom he has accused of having a personal vendetta against him and football.
“The CMO has a lot to answer for,” said the former Coventry City striker, who is the first high-profile Bermudian figure to announce a Covid-19 positive test.
“From him came the decision to change the Aruba match from Bermuda to the US.”
That decision, announced to the media 11 days ago, came after reports that members of the Bermuda team that took part in a training camp in Bradenton, Florida, tested positive on or before their return to the island on March 8.
Bermuda now play Aruba at the IMG Academy Complex in Bradenton next Tuesday instead of at the National Sports Centre.
Lightbourne, who suggested there is a double standard at play, with a nod towards how he perceives rugby’s inaugural World Ten Series was treated last October and November, added: “The Government is trying its best, but I think this is personal because of the words that were had between myself and the contact tracers.
“So that’s why I’m taking a personal look at the CMO — and they [Department of Health] better do the same with all sports coming through here as they have done with my football team!
“The CMO has something against Bermuda sports if that’s the way he is going to treat us.”
The Royal Gazette now understands that three players tested positive and are playing no part during this international break.
“I’ve been quarantining since March 8,” Lightbourne added. “They basically detained the whole team. It has been so frustrating what we have been through.
“It was about my team and not about three individuals [who tested positive]. They were all denied an opportunity to train when we returned.
“I feel fine; no symptoms. I’m just totally frustrated with the protocols and the enforcement of them.
“I have had a total of seven tests, and tested positive on my fifth one. The next two were negative.”
That positive test came on March 18, followed by a negative on March 20 and another negative three days later.
“The CMO has denied three people the chance of representing their country in the biggest game of their lives, and the biggest game coaching of my life,” Lightbourne said.
“I appreciate that people can be asymptomatic, but some of this [restriction of movement] has to be against people’s human rights.”
The Royal Gazette has reached out for comment from the CMO, who has been in the position for seven months since the retirement of Cheryl Peek-Ball, but did not receive a response at the time of going to press.
Technical director Maurice Lowe took charge of the team last night, and from the very start he was significantly handicapped — having to go up against Alphonso Davies and Co with only five to choose from on the substitutes’ bench as more players, including sure starter Zeiko Lewis, fell foul of Covid regulations and were ruled ineligible.
Lightbourne, who says he took legal advice over his position, has been cleared to travel tomorrow and is expected to be on the sidelines in Bradenton against Aruba.
“It’s funny how things change so quickly when you get a lawyer involved,” said Lightbourne, whose second vaccination dose was delayed because of being in quarantine. “What’s the difference between today and yesterday? Or Monday when the team left?
“Since then, they’ve been tested at least three times already and will be tested again immediately after the match.”