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Cecoy Robinson challenges Under-17s to make history

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History in the making?: Bermuda under-17 squad have the opportunity to become the island’s first national team to qualify for a Fifa World Cup competition

Cecoy Robinson believes his national Under-17 team are primed to make history as the first Bermuda side to qualify for a World Cup after naming his squad for next month’s Concacaf Championships in Guatemala.

Ahead of the qualifiers, which kick off on February 18, Robinson has named a 23-man squad and is adamant his team can win the two games needed to fulfil the goal

“To qualify for the World Cup would just be massive for the squad but also a huge achievement for Bermuda as a whole,” he said.

“In the build-up to the qualifiers, we have spoken to the squad about being the first Bermuda team to do that and making history for the island. We have a big chance to do that and we’re all just desperate to achieve that aim.

“I’m definitely happy with the squad we’ve been able to name. We got everyone we were trying to get involved and I think we have a really good squad with strong options.

“The incentive is clear for all of the squad. We know we have a great chance of qualifying but we also know it is going to be tough, we’re not naive, and so the players know they have to put their best foot forward.

“We believe we have a good draw and although it will be tough, the players are chomping at the bit, because they know if they do qualify it will set the standard for all other national teams on island.”

Great expectations: Bermuda Under-17 head coach Cecoy Robinson (File photograph)

While stressing that being based overseas was by no means a prerequisite to being called up to the squad, Robinson believes the difference in experiences of those players could prove pivotal.

“Close to 75 per cent of the squad is made up of players who are away at school overseas and that certainly gives the squad a big boost in terms of quality,” he added.

“We also have some quality players who are based on island and they all have the same chance to make an impression.

“It’s good to have players playing overseas because they have a different view from other coaches and also face more competition week in and week out. They bring a different perspective to the squad when they come back to Bermuda and that different experience can be key.”

Bermuda Under-17 squad

Nayan Grant, Malachi Henry, Luke Fulton, Jaidyn Robinson, Jannis Roberts, Xahvi Deroza, Daion Swan-Desilva, Malachai Belboda, Nathaniel Swan, Qu’ran Raynor, Keiaron Bean, Enoch Joseph, Gianni Burgess, Keyan Webb, Hayden Dill, Daqaio Stewart, Tiago Correia, Parish-Mitchell Robinson, Chance Eve, Kaej Stovell, Maxwell Mobary, Bakari Furbert, Jutore Burgess.

Ahead of flying out to Miami in preparation for the qualifiers, Robinson has the unenviable to task of having to whittle his squad down to a final list of 20 players by Monday.

“It’s the worst part of my job because all of the lads, and even those who didn’t make this squad, have done brilliantly, but a decision has to be made,” he added.

“It’s definitely a tough one to make because every single one of the players deserves to be in the squad.

“We held training camps over Christmas and so we have an idea of what we have and so now it a case of deliberating between the coaching staff to finalise the squad.”

While in the United States, the squad are due to play in one final warm-up match, having already faced the national Under-23 squad and Premier Division outfit Devonshire Cougars, as well as playing intra-squad games.

“We will have a warm-up match in Miami before the tournament kicks off and it is vital for us to have those matches because it gives us a chance to drill down what is needed in a match situation,” said Robinson, who could not confirm the opposition as yet. “That will allow us to be at our best and if anything needs to be tweaked we can do that.”

Having already booked their qualification to the knockout stage of the qualifiers as one of the four group winners, Bermuda will first face one of Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador or Suriname from group H in the round of 16 , with the winner’s going through to the quarter-finals taking place on February 21 and 22.

Progression there would see the squad through to the semi-finals, with the final four all qualifying for the Under-17 World Cup.

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Published January 17, 2023 at 7:35 am (Updated January 17, 2023 at 11:46 am)

Cecoy Robinson challenges Under-17s to make history

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