Bermuda should be wary of history repeating itself
Bermuda should need no reminder of the threat posed by Aruba ahead of two nations meeting in a World Cup qualifying encounter today.
Fresh off a humbling 5-1 defeat by Canada in their opening outing, Kyle Lightbourne’s side will be aiming to get their qualifying campaign back on track at the IMG Academy Complex in Bradenton, Florida, against their fellow islanders.
Likewise, Stanley Menzo’s side will be attempting to put a 6-0 thrashing against Suriname in their first outing firmly behind them and put their first points on the board in group B.
While Bermuda will be viewed as the favourites heading into the encounter — ranked 31 places above their fellow islanders — Lightbourne’s charges need only look as far back as 2018 for the potential dangers posed by the opposition.
On that occasion, Aruba prevailed in a comprehensive 3-1 victory in their opening Concacaf Nations League qualifier, in which they surged into a two-goal lead in the opening 11 minutes.
The final goalscorer from that previous meeting, Erik Santos de Gouveia, is likely to feature once again and, along with goalkeeper Eric Abdul, leads the way in international caps among the squad with 23 appearances.
As well as Santos de Gouveia and Abdul, the rest of the squad is made up almost entirely of a locally based contingent, bar 20-year-old midfielder Javier Jiménez, who features for Brandenburger in the fifth tier of German football.
Jiménez endured a baptism of fire in his first taste of international football, as Aruba were put to the sword by Suriname.
Nigel Hasselbaink, the nephew of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, the retired former Chelsea and Holland striker, notched a hat-trick. Further goals being added by Ryan Donk, Florian Jozefzoon and Roland Alberg.
Lightbourne would relish a repeat of that result in Bermuda’s favour; however, he will also be well aware the threat of history of repeating itself tonight.
Aruba squad: Eric Abdul, Mark Jacobs, Nickenson Paul, Kendrick Poulina, Jean-Pierre Heyden, Erik Santos de Gouveia, Javier Jiménez, Walter Bennett, François Crores, Edward Clarissa, Joshua Salazar, Jose Cruz, Gilbert Bautista, Ethan Tromp, Ericson Croes, Jeamirr Howell, Daniel Linscheer, Shaquille Stamper, Shermar Monticeuex.
Referee: J A Herrera Bonilla (El Salvador).