HAMILTON, Bermuda, CMC – Bermuda captain Reggie Lambe hopes his new-look side can move up the international rankings after taking on Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados in friendlies in the Caribbean in the space of four days.
The team flew out on Monday, and faced Antigua and Barbuda on Wednesday (last evening). It faces Barbados on Sunday.
Interim national coach Kyle Lightbourne has made six changes to the team who lost 3-2 to Barbados at the National Stadium here last October after squandering a 2-0 lead.
Liam Evans, the former Bermuda Under-20 captain, Kane Crichlow, Cecoy Robinson, Jahquil Hill, Justin Donawa and Naeem Griffith have replaced Danté Leverock, Tyrell Burgess, Ian Coke, Tre Ming, Mazhye Burchall and Dashun Cooper in the 19-man squad.
Leverock is now plying his trade with Estonian top-flight side Narva Trans, where he has hit the ground running with two goals in his first three appearances.
Coke, a forward with club side Dandy Town who was voted most valuable player and was joint leading scorer in Bermuda’s top flight last season, has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after dislocating his knee in a recent league match.
Lambe, 27, a winger with English League Two side Carlisle United, says it is vital for Bermuda to get some victories under their belt and build momentum for their upcoming CONCACAF Nations League matches.
Bermuda open their qualifying campaign away to Aruba in September before facing Sint Maarten and El Salvador at home, in October and November. They will close out the group stage with an away tie against Dominican Republic next March.
“It’s time for us to get some momentum going and we have to win the next couple of games,” Lambe told the Royal Gazette newspaper.
“I don’t know too much about the Antigua side, but I know they have a couple of players based in England who will be playing.
“We should have beaten Barbados at home but didn’t, so we will be looking to make amends against them.”
Bermuda are ranked below both Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados in the FIFA rankings. Bermuda are 184th, Antigua and Barbuda, 139th and Barbados, 152nd.
“Rankings aren’t accurate, really, since we haven’t played as many games as other countries,” Lambe said. “But hopefully after the games we can move up a few spots.”
Bermuda will get another chance to sharpen up for the Nations League qualifiers when they host Canadian side Oakville Blue Devils, the Ontario League 1 champions, in two matches here next month.