Bermuda Hockey Teams Ready For CAC Games

April 11, 2022

[Written by Stephen Wright]

For the past two months, the Bermuda men’s and women’s hockey teams have had a crash course in preparation for the Central American and Caribbean Games qualifiers under their new coach Kovin Moodley.

While having a relatively short period to instil his vision and philosophy into his players, Moodley explained that he could not have hoped for a more committed response from his hopefuls.

Bermuda face Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and Guyana, who are sending only a women’s team, in the qualifiers at the National Sports Centre from April 14 to 17.

The top two teams in both competitions will advance to the CAC Games, which will be held in San Salvador, El Salvador, next summer.

“It’s a big profile,” Moodley, said of his dual role as men’s and women’s coach.

“We’ve had a limited amount of time, but everyone has reacted positively. I’ve tried to add value to the existing structure, and the response I’ve had from everyone has made that process a lot easier.

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“Our vision and target will be to qualify. I’m confident we can challenge some of those teams that have previously beaten Bermuda.

“Everyone has made sacrifices and put in a lot of time. Hopefully, all that comes together on the day.”

The South African has watched hours of video footage to prepare for the qualifiers but believes it is nigh on impossible to gauge the level of Bermuda’s opponents because of the disruption to national programmes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I’ve come in from the outside, so I don’t have the best insight into the standard of hockey in this region,” said Moodley, an International Hockey Federation Level 2 certified coach,

“What I can say is, if the other countries weren’t able to continuously maintain their national programmes to a high standard because of the pandemic, we’re all back to square one.

“That’s been the nature of sport over the past two years. That might have levelled the playing field for everyone.”

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Moodley is acutely aware of the obstacles facing his teams, particularly the men’s group, who have not played an international match for about 30 years.

“The motivation for the men is to be the first at something,” said Moodley, a director at Sportsways, an international hockey coaching organisation that stages camps throughout the world, including Bermuda.

“There isn’t really a frame of reference because they haven’t been on the international stage for so long. We’re all in a kind of limbo position.

“We all want to do well; we all want to perform. But having intent is not always enough.

“We need to find the balance between learning new things and unlearning old things, which is independent of the level of the opposition at this point.”

There will, however, be higher expectations of Bermuda’s women, who lost in the third-place match at the previous qualifiers in Jamaica in 2017, having recorded comfortable wins over Panama and Guatemala.

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“I’m confident about how quickly they [the women’s team] have attached to my vision, philosophy and style of play,” the 30-year-old said.

“The next step is about game management and tactics. I have a lot of self-belief as a coach and my ability to read the most effective patterns of play.”

Since taking the coaching reins, the Moodley believes the overriding virtue of the players has been their appetite for hard work and their passion to represent their country with pride.

He believes hosting the qualifiers is not only a chance for the island’s supporters to cheer on their teams but also introduces a new generation of fans to the sport.

“The first moment I spoke to the players about national pride and being able to inspire others based on your passion, I could feel the emotion fill the room,” he added.

“That was so good to see because it means the players are fighting for something bigger than themselves. The players are so proud of how much work they have put in.

“I’m excited to see them stand in front of their home support because I know how much it means to them.”

Hockey schedule April 2022

Although Moodley’s short-term contract runs only until the end of the qualifiers, he said he is open to the possibility of extending his stay on the island and continuing rebuilding the national programme.

“Unfortunately, my contract is short-term,” he added. “The potential for something long-term, whether in the near or distant future, is something I’m hoping will be possible.

“I’m here for this event and fully committed to trying to guide the men and women to qualification. If we can entertain a conversation for the future afterwards, I’ll be pleased about that.”

Bermuda Men’s National Team

1. Justin Dill GK, 2. Reese Young, 3. Aizaya Smith, 4. Alex Godet, 5. Michail Ming-Woodley, 6. Charlie Lightowler, 7. Jayson Jackson, 8. Jonah Trott, 9. Samuel Thompson, 10. Hemijah Bean. 11. Donnie Simmons, 12. Xyaire Smith, 13. Richard Minors, 14. Tyler Smith, 15. Zahyinde Lightbourne-Cann, 16. Freddie Twite, 17. Aaron Madeiros, 18. Nathan Bothello. Coach: Kovin Moodley. Manager: Mark Melo

Bermuda Women’s National Team

1. Christina Stephen-Weser GK, 2. Tse Smith – Captain, 3. LaKae Tavares, 4. Alyssa De Silva, 5. Amy Harper, 6. Elizabeth Stewart, 7. Georgia Harris, 8. Isabel Roe, 9. Jennifer Chisnall, 10. Jessica Hollis, 11. Keishae Robinson, 12. Maha Clark, 13. Maya Palacio, 14. Lauren Cardwell, 15. Tihanna Booth, 16. Caroline Black, 17. Mallory Towlson, 18. LaTonia Fray. Coach: Kovin Moodley. Assistant Coach: Rupert Cuddon-Large. Manager: Megan Troake / Laura West –Burt / Joann Beilby

Hockey men's team Hockey women's team

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