Michael Findlay names youthful squad for opening Nations League fixtures
Bermuda coach Michael Findlay has put his faith in youth after naming his first national squad for the upcoming Concacaf Nations League opening fixtures.
Bermuda face French Guiana at the Dame Flora Duffy Stadium on Friday, followed by an away fixture against St Vincent & the Grenadines four days later.
Former Canada and Grenada coach Findlay, who replaced replace Kyle Lightbourne last month, previously spoke of a desire to “freshen up” his side, and so it has proved, with five new faces — Jalen Commissiong, Aunde Todd, Remy Coddington, Ne-Jai Tucker and Kashe Hall — being selected.
Those five players, along with the likes of Harry Twite, Deniche Hill, Jai Bean and the returning Kane Crichlow, make up a crop of young talent called up as part of transition of the national team set-up.
Alongside the youthful contingent of are more familiar faces in the form of senior players Danté Levereock, Reggie Lambe, Zeiko Lewis, Dale and Liam Evans.
“We’ve selected 23 players, out of these 23 the average age is about 24 years old,’’ said Findlay, whose squad is made up predominantly of players plying their trade overseas.
“We’re looking at about 70 per cent level of participation being off-island and 30 per cent from on-island.
“There is about 55 per cent returning players, but there is a number of players that are new to the squad or at least new to the senior team.
“This is part of our transitional programme, we’re very excited to enter a new era where I think is going to play a very important part of our development.”
One notable omission is the continued absence of Nahki Wells. While the Bristol City striker previously expressed his intention to step away from international duty, Findlay revealed he has engaged with the 33-year-old former captain and remains optimistic that he will be available to future squads.
“Previously he had mentioned that this will be a time that he may be retiring, after the previous matches prior to my arrival,’’ Findlay added.
“I can say with great confidence that I've have had conversations with him, as have part of the other staff. I have a great amount of respect for him and the service that he’s provided Bermuda.
“We’re hopeful that he may reconsider that situation. I am certainly not going to eliminate him at this point until he makes some final decisions; those are the decisions he has to make and I respect that.
“He will be a great assistance to us going forward, but he also has responsibilities with his club that he has to balance.”
Meanwhile, Findlay also confirmed that no permanent captain had been selected, with the new coach wanting to cast his eye over the leadership qualities within his squad.
“Right now we are not naming a captain. I am going to give myself an opportunity to work with these players,’’ he said.
“I am going to establish a leadership group within the team to get a better idea, talk with that leadership group and what we looking for is for a leader to present themselves during that process.
“I’ve always said the modern game today, it’s a lot to ask one player to carry a team. We look for as many leaders as possible internally. Some will be more visual and more verbal than others, but prior to this match against French Guiana, we’ll choose some at least to captain the team for this camp.”
The contingent of overseas-based players are expected to start arriving tomorrow after fulfilling club commitments.
“It is our hope that we will be on the field every day in the build-up to the match on Friday,’’ Findlay said.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, both on and off the field, so when we release the schedule a lot of our work will be behind the scenes, which will give us an opportunity to get to know the players, introduce our game model and belief systems. Hopefully, we can go out and apply that.”
Goalkeepers: Dale Eve, Detre Bell, Quinaceo Hunt
Defenders: Daniel Cook, Danté Levereock, Harry Twite, Jalen Commissiong, Reece Jones
Midfielders: Aunde Todd, Kacy Butterfield, Kashe Hall, Knory Scott, Liam Evans, Ne-Jai Tucker, Roger Lee
Forwards: Deniche Hill, Jai Bean, Kane Crichlow, Lejaun Simmons, Luke Robinson, Reggie Lambe, Remy Coddington, Zeiko Lewis