The squad's coaching staff is led by Andrew Bascome, pictured, and Dennis Brown. *File photo
The squad's coaching staff is led by Andrew Bascome, pictured, and Dennis Brown. *File photo

The BFA has urged its players to seize the moment when Bermuda take on England C at the Nationals Sports Centre on Tuesday night (kick-off 7:30pm).

The 16-man squad was named today, featuring a number of overseas-based players including Reggie Lambe (Toronto FC), Jonte Smith (Crawley Town) and Dale Eve (Stoke City).

There is also a host of local-team players and the BFA wants them to showcase their talents to watching England C boss Paul Fairclough — director of football at Conference side Barnet — and use the game to further their careers.

BFA spokesman Cal Blankendal said: “For our players to compete against them is a chance to gauge how good they are, for those on the professional ranks it’s something to add to their resume, and for those players still looking to leave our shores they can add to their profile as well.

“It’s a great opportunity for our coaching staff led by Andrew Bascome and Dennis Brown to see a wide array of players compete at a higher level than as a training group in Bermuda.

“It’s also an opportunity for many players to be involved and for those overseas players to come back. Being overseas at a high level doesn’t give you automatic entry into a team, so they have to come back, showcase their skills during a training session and show those players that are here how they are doing overseas and how they can reach that standard.”

He added: “I met Paul [Fairclough] some time ago and he’s a very king gentleman, very interested in the development of players and for the level at Barnet where if they can find a good buy, an affordable buy for club trying to bounce back into league football who may be challenged financially, this is a great opportunity if you showcase yourself.

“We have an advantage in that our players will not cost as much as players back in England so it’s a great opportunity to get out on the pitch.”

Blankendal also hopes the match will strengthen relations with their English counterparts and result in the game becoming a more regular fixture.

In the immediate future, though, he wants Bermuda – and England — football fans to attend the match in their droves. 

He said: “It’s important to get the crowd behind the young players, using the American concept of the 12th man we are at home, we should have a large turnout. We know there’s a large overseas workers based in Bermuda so hopefully they come out to support England. 

“It’s an honour for us any time we can foster relations with an association like the English FA — maybe every two to three years they can visit or we can visit them and we can offer our players direct opportunities to work with the FA when it comes to scouting players and building relationship with their manager Paul Fairclough, who can act as an intermediary with other clubs.”

Another reason for people to come out on Tuesday, says Blankendal, is the strength of the Bermuda side. 

He said: “This is one of the strongest teams we’ve had in quite a number of years — just the fact there are about seven players overseas, not forgetting that the team is being led by John Barry Nusum who is a former semi-pro, and we have Damon Ming who also played for Barnet.

“And we also have Freddy Hall who just recently was at Toronto FC. So out of a squad of 18 there are probably 11 players who have played pro or are playing pro, so that’s a very high level.

“To have about eight or nine currently playing pro in some format bodes well for the future. For us to compete internationally, there’s probably going to be about 75 per cent overseas and 25 per cent playing in the domestic league and it’s no different for anywhere else in the Caribbean — we just don’t have that high intensity-level games at a national standard.”