Kyle Lightbourne back in the dugout for Aruba clash
Bermuda have been handed a boost ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Aruba with the news that head coach Kyle Lightbourne has been cleared to return to the dugout.
Lightbourne was forced to watch from home as his side suffered a 5-1 defeat by Canada in their opening encounter, having been denied clearance to travel to Florida with the squad.
However, after belatedly flying out to join the rest of the group and having returned two negative Covid-19 tests, he will make be among the coaching staff for the group B clash at the IMG Academy Complex in Bradenton, Florida, tonight.
“I’m available to be with the squad again and I’m delighted to be part of the contingent again,” Lightbourne told The Royal Gazette. “It’s a huge relief to be back with the squad.
“Now we have to turn our attention to making sure we give a good performance and restore some pride and belief among the squad."
Lightbourne also revealed that three of the seven players who missed the Canada clash after returning inconclusive tests will also return to the bolster the matchday squad.
However, that also means that Bermuda will still not be at their full complement with the remaining four missing out again, having returned inconclusive results for a second time.
“We will have three of the players that were missing against Canada return to the squad tonight,” Lightbourne added. “Unfortunately, four will still be missing after returning inconclusive results again.”
While Bermuda will be viewed as the favourites heading into the encounter — ranked 31 places above their fellow islanders — Lightbourne is aware of the threat posed by the opposition, who prevailed 3-1 in their previous meeting in a Concacaf Nations League qualifier in 2018.
Like Bermuda, Aruba will be looking to rebound from an opening defeat, having suffered a 6-0 thrashing against Suriname.
“We watched parts of their match against Suriname and they are in a similar position to us coming off a heavy defeat,” he said.
“They haven’t had the opportunity to play many matches and so perhaps they weren’t quite up to speed with the rhythm of their play.
“However, we certainly won’t be taking them for granted. I will be demanding a performance from every single player because we have been given a chance to redeem ourselves and we have to take that opportunity.”