Bermuda to face Guyana in Gold Cup warm-up
Bermuda’s players will get some precious minutes on the pitch in a Concacaf Gold Cup warm-up against Guyana in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, today.
Kyle Lightbourne, the national coach, will use the opportunity to iron out any kinks during the behind-closed-doors affair ahead of Friday’s one-off Gold Cup preliminary-round fixture against Barbados at the DRV PNK Stadium.
Bermuda edged Guyana 1-0 the last time the two countries met in a friendly at the National Stadium in June 2019.
Guyana, who face Guatemala on Saturday, are ranked nineteenth in the Concacaf rankings, two places below Bermuda, whose 23-player squad arrived in Florida over the weekend.
Bermuda are attempting to qualify for a second straight Gold Cup and Barbados their first.
Lightbourne believes that the national team’s Gold Cup debut has inspired other nations such as Barbados.
“Barbados are a very good team and are probably a bit like how we were last time around approaching the Gold Cup,” he said. “I think we have inspired a few other countries; Barbados would see themselves probably just where we are as well. We made it to the Gold Cup, so why can’t they do it?
“I think from our success there’s other teams looking to go that route from our previous Gold Cup and we are fully aware of it.”
Bermuda qualified for the Gold Cup for the first time after finishing fifth in the Nations League qualifiers with a record of three wins and one defeat.
The two countries played to a goalless draw the previous time they met in a friendly in Barbados in March 2018.
“I really like Barbados’s coach, Russell Latapy,” Lightbourne added. “I have spent time with him and he is a really good guy.
“He knows how he wants his team to play and he also done well with Trinidad’s under-20s in a similar sort of way that I went.
“He has been doing well with Barbados’s senior team and I think they have brought in a few players from overseas that have previously not played for them.
“Everybody is using that route so now that the teams have been named we just have to do our research and go from there.”
The winner will take on Haiti or St Vincent & the Grenadines in the second round for the right to progress to Gold Cup proper, where they will join the United States, Canada and Martinique in group B.
Bermuda missed out on automatic qualification to the biennial competition after being relegated from League A of the Nations League.
The national team were originally scheduled to face Bahamas or French Guiana in the second round of qualification for a place at the next Gold Cup.
However, because of the suspension of fixtures originally scheduled last year, Concacaf was forced to create a preliminary round for those teams who were due to play in the qualification stage, including Bermuda. The matches will be played from July 2 to 6.