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Bermuda coach Michael Findlay places emphasis on youth

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Newly installed Bermuda football coach Michael Findlay has high expectations for the island (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Michael Findlay has set the bar high for his initial term as coach of the Bermuda football team.

The former Canada and Grenada coach and Fifa technical consultant’s vision is to see Bermuda get back to winning ways, reclaim their Concacaf Nations League A status and be competitive in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

“There’s only one philosophy in football and that’s winning, so my expectation is we go and win international football games, Findlay told The Royal Gazette.

“Our objectives and goals is to return to League A. This will be a process and it will need patience and we’ll need to be prepared for both scenarios.

“But the long-term goal of the Bermuda Football Association is to be in League A and be competitive in the 2026 World Cup qualifying.

“Those are the two objectives and one of them is short-term because we need to get results here in September and October.”

Findlay, a Canadian of British descent, was named as Kyle Lightbourne’s successor on August 13 and has hit the ground running with the national team set to kick off the next Nations League campaign against French Guiana at the Flora Duffy Stadium on September 8.

Hitting it off: new Bermuda coach Michael Findlay, with assistants John Barry Nusum, left, and Kenny Thompson, sees the light of a comment at a press conference yesterday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The 59-year-old has already recruited local pair Kenny Thompson and John Barry Nusum as his assistants and commenced team selection.

“We’ve reached out to the players in a long-list communication just so they know what’s going on,” Findlay added.

“I have been able to speak to a couple of them via Zoom call before announcement, so now it will be sitting down with them and speaking to them about what our next steps are.

“It’s a fast runway. The coaching staff will need to make some decisions very quickly about our first group because the first game is on September 8.

“That’s fast coming, so hopefully we will be able to make some of those decisions quickly here and then it’s all about implementing our game model and strategy, and building the atmosphere around this group and hopefully for success.”

Bermudians John Barry Nusum, left, and Kenny Thompson, right, have been appointed as senior national coach Michael Findlay’s assistant coaches (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Findlay is keen to freshen the team with some of the young talent he has already scouted.

“I come in here with a very clean slate because my knowledge is being driven by local presence by my own research,” he said. “I have not worked with the team so I have to have that opportunity to do so before I can make those sort of decisions in combination with the staff.

“What I can tell you is that time will show us that we need to freshen this squad up.

“There is a very exciting group of young players that we have identified. Some have never played for Bermuda before, some have and maybe they will come back into that group.

“But it’s just about the balance of the group and as the saying goes we’re not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater and we will need certain experience in the squad, too. It will be us sitting down and balancing those selections to best suit what we need to do September and October.

“Some in the past may have indicated they may not want to participate any more, but I won’t commit to that until I have had a word with them.

“I have spoken to a few players already and I think the conversation has been positive. But right now no one has indicated to me they don’t want to play.”

Findlay also addressed the void created after Nahki Wells stepped down as Bermuda captain.

“We talked about this with the staff and I am a firm believer in leadership groups,” he added.

“I will look first and foremost to put together some strong personalities within that group and over time we will decide how that captaincy looks.

“I am a firm believer you can’t load one individual on having responsibility to carry an entire team, but what you can you do is encourage personal leadership within the group.

“So first and foremost we will get a leadership team and then we will move towards whoever may be able to put the armband on the days of the game. But I expect everybody to be leading in some capacity.”

Findlay is looking forward to having a full squad of players in training at the earliest opportunity.

“The staff is going to make a final decision and we are obviously governed by Fifa window rules and regulations around players,” he said.

“If we have players that are available sooner than the international dates open we’ll start to process but it will be September 3 or 4 before we know it.”

Findlay is thrilled to have Thompson and Nusum on board as his assistants.

“It was very important for me to focus on having a Bermudian answer to this long term,” he said.

“I am a big believer that you have to grow organically in football at international level or you will consistently go through the same processes, and so I haven’t brought anybody with me.

“I’ve worked closely with Maurice Lowe [BFA technical director] to get a good idea of what type of people we need in this staff and what our goals are and what our objectives are, and I am really excited about having these two gentlemen [Thompson and Nusum] here to be a part of this.

“They are going to be a great assistance to me with their experience with the national team programme in the past and also on a pathway with their own coaching development career.”

Thompson and Nusum are equally as excited to work with someone of Findlay’s pedigree.

“It’s exciting for me to be working alongside Michael with his experience and exposure to be able to develop myself further as well because I am a coach that literally learns something new every day,” said Thompson, a former Bermuda coach who is in charge of FA Cup winners North Village domestically.

“Overall it’s exciting having Michael here to accelerate my personal learning process along with John, and then from our perspective of being Bermudian to help Michael with the cultural transition of understanding the players, knowing the players and knowing our culture. I really appreciate the request to be involved.”

Nusum added: “We’ve had a couple of conversations and it’s been very positive.

“The one thing I do like about him is he’s very forward-thinking. So instead of, these are the problems, the question is, what’s our solutions, let’s find some solutions. So the conversation has been very good so far.”

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Published August 19, 2023 at 7:30 am (Updated August 21, 2023 at 8:09 am)

Bermuda coach Michael Findlay places emphasis on youth

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