Kyle Lightbourne credits undermanned squad ‛for never giving up’
Kyle Lightbourne conceded his Bermuda players endured a tough lesson after suffering a 5-1 humbling to Canada in their opening World Cup qualifier at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida, yesterday.
In what was always expected to be difficult outing against a team ranked 96 places above them in the Fifa world rankings, Canada — led by talisman Alphonso Davies — demonstrated their greater pedigree with Cyle Larin’s hat-trick being added to by Richie Laryea and Theo Corbeanu, with Kane Crichlow grabbing a debut goal in consolation.
It proved a tough watch for Lightbourne who was not permitted to travel with the squad for the match despite returning a negative Covid-19 test, having tested positive in a Day 10 test a week ago.
To compound matters, a number of the squad returned inconclusive results before the match, resulting in Bermuda having to name an even more weakened starting XI and reduced substitutes’ bench.
“It was a really tough evening all-round for us for a number of reasons,” Lightbourne said. “With us missing so many players, it was always going to be a difficult exercise against a very good side.
“They had more quality than us and although we managed certain situations, we didn’t quite defend as well as we would have hoped.
“Although 5-1 is never a good scoreline, it could have been worse on the night. That was a learning experience for all the squad, but they will better off for enduring those tough circumstances.
“Obviously, I never like to look for excuses but we had a host of new players who were thrown into a tough environment and I have to give all the players credit for never giving up.”
Lightbourne, who hopes to join his squad in the coming days, knows there is no time to dwell on the defeat with a match against Aruba looming in four days’ time.
“Hopefully I’ll be cleared to travel so I can join up with the squad again, added Lightbourne, who expects that a number of his squad will also return for the encounter.
“Those players who missed the match should be in the process of being tested again, and hopefully if negative can rejoin the group.
“We’ve suffered a tough loss but we need to turn things round quickly and do better in our next match. We’re not expecting as hard a match as we faced against Canada, and so it is up to us to move on and perform better. We have to keep fighting.”