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Dennis Brown adamant Bermuda should be targeting 2026 World Cup spot

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Target set: Bermuda men’s senior team have been set the challenge to qualify for the 2026 World Cup which will be hosted in Mexico, Canada and the United States
Lofty ambitions: Dennis Brown is adamant Bermuda should be targeting a spot at the next World Cup (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Dennis Brown is adamant Bermuda should be targeting a spot at the next World Cup.

With this year’s tournament already well under way in Qatar, much of the island’s population will be watching on and dreaming of one day seeing their own team gracing the world’s biggest football stage.

Those aspirations could soon become a more realistic possibility with the Concacaf region taking centre stage in four years time when the tournament will be held in Mexico, Canada and the United States.

As a result of the three regional powerhouses being handed automatic qualification as host nations and the tournament expanding from 32 to 46 teams, a further three spots have been made available as well as two more possible through play-off places.

With that incentive in place, Brown, the technical director of Somerset Trojans, sees no reason why Bermuda should not be one of the teams contesting for the available berths.

“The 2026 World Cup goes from three Concacaf teams qualifying automatically to six, and we can be one of those teams if we put all of the necessary resources in place,” Brown said. “The realistic ambition has to be to qualify for the World Cup, that is the ultimate goal.”

In order to help realise that ambition, Brown conceded it is pivotal that certain aspects of the game evolve but steps have already been taken to implement those positive changes.

Brown recently went to visit the the coaching and youth development set-ups at Liverpool and Manchester City, helping to create a partnership with Matrix Soccer Academy, which is headed up by Lead Talent ID Centre Coach at Manchester City, Charlie Jackson .

“Our mandate right from the beginning was to try and assist the Bermuda Football Association and improve the game on island, across all levels,” Brown said.

“It’s not just about the players, it also includes the coaches. We’ve come a long way in the past couple of years in terms of our coaching on island but it’s vitally important to help our coaches keep improving and be able to deliver sessions at the highest level.

“The BFA is on the right track in relation to creating a good football environment for our players here in Bermuda and so it is important for us to do all we can to help maintain those levels and then improve where we can.

“Going over to England and seeing how things are set up there was definitely an eye-opener for me, especially when it came to the facilities in place. They were first class across the board and that is one of the things we can hopefully improve here because it helps create a better environment for development for both players and coaches. It is one of the major weaknesses here in Bermuda and that area needs a serious upgrade.”

As well as helping to achieve the lofty ambitions of the senior men’s team in the near future, the partnership is also aiming to help Bermuda's young players unlock their full potential and create more opportunities overseas.

“The pathway is certainly being put in place and that will create opportunities for our boys and girls to have those experiences,” said Brown. “I’ve always said Bermuda has the talent, it is on par with players across the world at young ages, and a priority is to help create those opportunities and pathways.

“The programme we are putting in place is all about changing the mindset of the players from a young age, between 10 and 13 years old, and make them aware of what it takes to progress to that next level.

“Those avenues are definitely opening up and with the relationships we are putting in place it will become a much more regular thing in relation to young Bermudian players going overseas and joining academies and schools.”

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Published November 23, 2022 at 3:08 pm (Updated November 24, 2022 at 7:43 am)

Dennis Brown adamant Bermuda should be targeting 2026 World Cup spot

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