Kole Hall hopes to meet gold standard
Kole Hall remains hopeful he has done enough to prove he warrants a place in the Bermuda squad for the Concacaf Gold Cup qualifier against Barbados next month.
In his first taste of international football, the 22-year-old started in the final two World Cup qualifiers in group B, a 6-0 defeat by Surinam and a 1-1 draw with Cayman Islands, in which the striker salvaged a point with his maiden Bermuda goal.
Despite conceding to mixed emotions over his appearances, having capped the campaign on a personal high note, Hall is hopeful of earning a spot in Kyle Lightbourne’s squad for the one-off Gold Cup first preliminary-round fixture at the DRV PNK Stadium, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 2.
“I was really excited to get off the mark for Bermuda,” said Hall, who plies his trade in England’s non-League for Radcliffe, of the Northern Premier League Premier Division. “It was something I had thought about and looked forward to even before I got the call-up for the squad.
“Just being part of the squad for the first time was really overwhelming; it was just so exciting to represent Bermuda.
“Obviously, I’m grateful to have scored my first goal and that I helped to get something out of the final game, but as a team I felt we could have done better and probably should have got more than just a point.
“On a personal level, it’s just the beginning for me. The hard work continues from now because I know I have to keep showing what I’m capable of.
“Obviously all strikers are judged on goals and I just hope I’ve done enough to give Kyle [Lightbourne] a decision to make moving forward.”
“I hope I’ve done enough to show the coaching staff what I can do and hopefully that will be enough to see me called up for the next squad.”
Should Bermuda prevail against Barbados next month they will face Haiti or St Vincent & the Grenadines for the right to progress to the group stage — between July 10 and August 1 — where United States, Canada and Martinique await.
Should he be selected, the Barbados fixture could offer Hall another opportunity to stake his claim, not only as part of future squads, but also as a possible viable option to help fill the notable void that will be left whenever talisman Nahki Wells, 31, decides to hang up his boots.
“The last two games were difficult for us but we have to put them behind us now and focus fully on the Gold Cup qualifier against Barbados,” added Hall, who was part of a much changed squad for the previous two fixtures in the absence of a host of forwards including Wells, Reggie Lambe, Jonté Smith, Kane Crichlow and Justin Donawa.
“Obviously whenever we might be without Nahki and some of the other senior players, others have to step up at some point. The country can’t rely on those guys for ever and it is a case of someone at some point stepping into that forward position and staking their claim.
“The key for me now is to keep working hard and show I deserve to be involved with the national squad. I’d loved to be involved in the Gold Cup qualifiers but I also know I’m new to the national set-up and I have to prove that I deserve to be selected again.”