Bermuda and Montserrat qualify for Gold Cup
Bermuda’s national football team (pop: 62,000) made history tonight by qualifying for the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the first time. It is the island’s first qualification for any major tournament.
Nakhi Wells led the Gombey Warriors, resplendent in their pink shorts and blue shorts, to a 3-1 victory in the Dominican Republic (pop: 10,785,000) and 20 places higher in the FIFA rankings. The win gave them a top 10 qualifying birth within the 34 team CONCACEF Nations League.
Wells, the most well known player in Bermuda’s ranks, scored the 2nd after Zeiko Lewis, who plays in the USA 2nd tier for Charleston Battery, equalized a very early Dom Rep opener. Justin Donawa (Columbus Crew) scored the crucial third from distance to make the game safe.
The CONCACAF Nations League includes 34 different countries and islands that span from Canada in the north, to Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana in the south. Each nation only played four games, devised by an algorithm supposedly, but the top 10 will join the six higher FIFA ranked Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Trinidad & Tobago in the 2019 Gold Cup being held jointly in the USA, Costa Rica and a yet to be named Caribbean country.
After this weekend the 34 teams will be split into 3 Nation League divisions, and with Bermuda most likely to finish 6th, it will mean Bermuda will mix it on a regular basis with the USA, Mexico et al in the top grouping unless Nicaragua win in Bahamas later by 7 clear goals for them to knock Bermuda to 7th and Nations League B.
Going into this weekend’s last round of games a myriad of teams were in with a chance of qualification. One was Lyle Taylor’s Montserrat (pop: 4,490). On Friday night they won away in the Cayman Islands (pop: 61,600) 2-1. Lyle played the whole game, but didn’t score but you can see him celebrating the winner here:
Incredibly tiny Montserrat also qualify for the Gold Cup. They wait also on the Bahamas v Nicaragua game, but they can finish no lower than 10th and will therefore take at worst the last qualifying Gold Cup spot. A magnificent achievement for a team that had not won for 5 years before this tournament, but has recently been enriched by English players, most of whom are from non-league, finding Monsterrat heritage in their family history. Congratulations Lyle.