Coach Kyle Lightbourne: ‘Preparation Going Well’

November 15, 2018

[Written by Patrick Bean]

Bermuda’s national football team coach can enter Friday’s CONCACAF Nations League international against El Salvador with fond memories based on his scoring of the winning goal against the Central American nation in a stunning 1-0 upset back in 1992.

A 1-0 result in favour this time around would stand as an even greater miracle than that of the past triumph, which created shock-waves throughout Central America and the world, with Bermuda achieving its greatest level of advancement in the tournament.

In fact, Bermuda lost the return leg 4-1 in the dream run during the 90s and such is Bermuda’s status in the current FIFA ranking — Bermuda are 180th compared to El Salvador at 70th — a close loss would be deemed as successful in many quarters and indicate positive movement for the Island.

Still, coach Lightbourne said that the team is ready and has blended well in training and while respectful of the opposition as favourites, he expected Bermuda to be able to compete well and not be so overwhelmed in thought that they lose the match in their mind even before taking the field.

“We have to respect them for what they can do, but we have to not just allow them to dictate the game, we have to try and impose our style on the game,” said Lightbourne, who’s header heard around the Americas earned him a permanent place in World Cup qualifying lore.

“We need a good result and we just have to do everything it takes to get that result. A draw would be a good result considering where the two countries are, but I believe that if we simply play well and be committed throughout it would be uplifting for the team regardless.

“Because in the big picture, El Salvador has the quality and this will show up at times and stages in the match, but we have to dig in and stay dug in and take our chances when they come.”

No doubt on the radar of the Salvadorians will be Bermuda’s lead attacking player Nahki Wells, who currently plays with Queens Park Rangers of the English Championship League and stands as Bermuda’s number one attacking option.

The coach termed himself pleased with having Wells, and noted him to be making the adjustment to his role as the number one option up front, while also acclimating himself to playing with a different calibre of players compared to those he battles with among the professional ranks in England.

“I think his and our preparation is going well, I would have liked to have had more time to prepare, but things have gone well,” added Lightbourne. “Nahki has blended in well, you can see his professionalism in his play based on his having played on a high level at QPR.

“He has had to adjust to playing with us and we to him, which is something we’re going to have to get right in order to get the result we want.”

Lightbourne was deliberately vague in discussing his team’s tactical approach to the match, noting that anything he was to say about Bermuda would find its way to the opposition and give them the chance to devise strategies to repel his side.

“I know how they operate, the media they bring are a team with the football squad and they look out for each other in terms of getting and giving information…they’re all a team working with each other.

“What I will say is that we’re looking to work with each other as well. We’re looking for the midfield to win balls and be creative. We want our defenders to be solid. And we want our front men to be ruthless.”

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