Lightbourne urges Bermuda to get at Guyana in crucial clash
Kyle Lightbourne, the national coach, has urged his players to make the most of home advantage and take the match to Guyana in their crucial Concacaf Nations League group B clash at Flora Duffy Stadium today.
“We know they have quality in certain areas and are a team that’s ranked a couple of places higher than us, so we are at home and we have to take the game to them,” he said.
“I am expecting us to be exciting going forward. We want to create opportunities and be the team that’s in control, that’s what I am expecting.”
Lightbourne said his players are fired up for the big occasion, knowing victory would enhance his side’s odds of securing their League B status for the next instalment of the Nations League, which begins in September, and keep hopes of qualifying for the Gold Cup preliminary round alive.
“We are excited about the game and have trained well this week,” he added. “Now it’s just can we perform on the day.”
Bermuda suffered a 2-1 defeat against Guyana in the first meeting between the two countries last June.
Lightbourne felt his team deserved more from the match and were the orchestrator of their own demise.
“We have looked at the game when we played them before and the goals were caused from our mistakes,” said the head coach, whose side sit third in the group on four points, two behind second place Guyana.
“We actually had a poor game and we know that we can’t play like that again.”
The national team has since undergone a considerable facelift which Lightbourne believes can work in his team’s favour as their opponents won’t be familiar with some of the new faces in the set-up.
“It may be one or two players that they may not have played against that may surprise them,” he added.
“We definitely will be having a few debuts, so it’s exciting for Bermuda to see the younger players coming through.”
Among the young talent in the squad are teenagers Deniche Hill and Sincere Hall, who are coming up through the professional ranks with English Premier League sides Leicester City and Hull City.
“I think we got a good, young bunch of players to pick from,” Lightbourne said.
“This is a transitional period that we have to go through and we are hoping that they firstly do themselves and their families proud.
“That’s what we hope, that they go from strength to strength from here.”
Lightbourne was forced into making a number of changes to his squad because of the unavailability of a few regulars owing to injury, scheduling conflicts and travel restrictions to the United States for those unvaccinated against Covid-19.
“We had certain players that we were not able to get that would normally be in the squad,” he said.
Bermuda will again be led by captain and Bristol City striker Nahki Wells, who is contemplating calling time on his international career after today’s match.
“We all know Nahki’s situation,” added Lightbourne. “Does he continue on? Does he say this is his last game? That remains to be seen and I think he’s leaving that open.
“I think he will probably make a judgment after this game and go from there because he sees the excitement from some of the younger players that are coming through, so he may just want to hang around for a little bit more.
“We don’t know. But it’s a possibility and I think from his interview it shows that he’s not definitely sure.”
It remains to be seen whether Wells will accompany the national team to the Dominican Republic for their final group match against leaders Haiti at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Jamaal Shabazz, the Guyana coach, is optimistic his team can come away with a positive result, but will not be taking anything for granted despite having already got the better of their hosts in the previous meeting.
“We want to play safe. We saw the Bermuda team come to Guyana and did very well and we want to give them respect,” he said.
“We have a lot of players who can use the ball, so we intend to play. But I think while there’s this big quest for ascendancy in the group, the most important thing for us right now is try and put on a good performance and let the result come out of the performance.”
The Trinidadian admits his team are going somewhat into the unknown against a new-look Bermuda squad.
“They [Bermuda] have been very tight-lipped with their squad, so we can only go by what we saw on the last occasion,” Shabazz added. “They have done a very a good job keeping things very secretive.
“But you know, in Caribbean football, we try to go and play our game and establish our play, and see how it goes from there.”
The visiting side took advantage of the opportunity yesterday to familiarise themselves with the pitch at Flora Duffy Stadium, which Shabazz was most impressed by.
“The surface is very good and what we’ve seen here is excellent,” he said. “The pitch is flat and nice.
“It’s hard to see a football stadium in the Caribbean that is not a cricket pitch, so it’s good for us.”
The match starts at 3pm, with Haiti facing Montserrat at 6pm. Victory for the group leaders would clinch Gold Cup qualification and League A status.
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service