Club v country: Reggie Lambe omitted from national squad after schedule clash
Reggie Lambe was left out of Bermuda’s Concacaf Nations League squad after a scheduling conflict between club and country.
The 32-year-old midfielder had been part of Kyle Lightbourne’s plans for the upcoming matches against Guyana and Haiti, but the national coach made the decision to leave the island’s most capped player out of the squad after he was unable to return to the island on time due to commitments with English non-League side Sudbury Town.
“Reggie had another commitment that meant he would have only arrived on the 22nd with the game so close and another just a week away,” Lightbourne said.
“We are not doing a lot between now and then and it just becomes difficult for the whole set-up waiting for players. That’s what happened to us before and I just don’t want to go through that again. I want us to all be on time when we can.
“Reggie has been a big part of it and I have a lot of time for Reggie. Next time, hopefully everything works out.”
Lambe played in Sudbury’s Suffolk Premier Cup quarter-final clash against his former club Stowmarket Town on Tuesday and it proved to be a bittersweet occasion for the player, who netted his first goal since switching clubs last month in a 3-1 defeat.
Lambe had made himself available to play for Bermuda and had hoped to return to the island after the cup game.
“I had a match on Tuesday night and the management were reluctant to bring me back on Wednesday,” he said. “They wanted me to come back on the 19th, but that wasn’t possible.
“I am always trying to make myself available, but I think the management have different ideas on how they see things going, whereas if you’re not on their time then you are not able to be accommodated in the squad.”
Lambe is among several senior players, including Jaylon Bather and forwards Justin Donawa and Jonté Smith, who have been left out of the remaining Nations League fixtures.
Bermuda host Guyana at Flora Duffy Stadium on Saturday knowing victory will secure their League B status for the next instalment of the Nations League, which begins in September, and keep slim hopes of qualifying for a second Gold Cup alive.
The national team suffered a 2-1 defeat against Guyana in their first meeting between the two countries last June, with Lambe eclipsing Damon Ming as Bermuda’s most capped player in the match.
Lightbourne has pinned his hopes of success this time around on a new-look squad boasting several youngsters, including teenagers Deniche Hill, Sincere Hall and Harry Twite.
“It’s definitely an accumulation of youngsters and I think they need the experience if they are going to carry on the torch for the national team,” Lambe said.
“I think this is a good opportunity for them to get time, get minutes and experience, so I think they should use it well to cement a place in the national team.”
Saturday’s match could also be captain Nahki Wells’s last appearance for the national team, with the Bristol City striker considering calling time on his international career to focus solely on his commitments in England.
In response to his Bermuda team-mate’s recent announcement, Lambe said: “I think that’s a decision he’s made and he’s probably thought long and hard about it. I know he definitely wanted to see out this campaign before he calls it a day.”
When asked about Wells’s decision, which was revealed exclusively to The Royal Gazette on Thursday, Lightbourne declined to comment on the matter.
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