Haiti will be tougher than Barbados, says Kyle Lightbourne
Kyle Lightbourne, the Bermuda coach, says his team is not “getting carried away” with their landslide victory over Barbados at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale on Friday.
Led by captain Nahki Wells’s hat-trick, which included the fastest goal in tournament history at 17 seconds, the national team thrashed their opponents 8-1 in the lopsided Concacaf Gold Cup preliminary round match.
Reggie Lambe, Danté Leverock, substitute Kane Crichlow, Lewis and a Krystian Pearce own goal accounted for Bermuda’s remaining tallies.
Barbados replied through captain Hadan Holligan.
While delighted with the result, Lightbourne says his players are keeping their feet planted firmly on the ground as they prepare for tomorrow’s second round clash against Haiti for the right to progress to the Gold Cup proper.
“We are happy that we are in the next round but we are not getting carried away,” he told The Royal Gazette.
“We know it’s going to be a tougher test against Haiti. We played them in the Gold Cup last time around they beat us 2-1.
“We feel we lost out on a close game with Haiti the last time and it’s going to be difficult.”
Lightbourne was anticipating a tougher match against Barbados than the thrashing that unfolded.
“I didn’t think it would be that type of score line but you have to take it because we were on the end of a beating not too long ago against Surinam (6-0 in last month’s World Cup qualifier),” he said.
“I knew we were going to be a different type of unit as far as what you saw in the World Cup qualifiers and it showed with the ruthlessness of our finishing.
“I think we had one or two other opportunities we could have finished off, but a high percentage of our chances went in.”
Lightbourne added: “It just shows that we are a team to watch out for and hopefully we can put on a good performance against Haiti.
“We will be a little bit better come Tuesday, a little sharper and it’s a lot more to come from the team.
“Our bench looks a lot stronger than what we had a few years ago with the talent that can come in. We still have players like Kole Hall and Lejaun Simmons who didn’t get a game [against Barbados] and others who can also feature.”
Haiti thrashed St Vincent & the Grenadines 6-1 also last Friday to set up a showdown with Bermuda for the right to join the United States, Canada and Martinique in group B at the Gold Cup.
Lightbourne’s team 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.