MIAMI.- The first-ever Concacaf Nations League A match takes place Thursday, with Bermuda welcoming Panama to the National Stadium in Hamilton.
Each team goes into the Group B opener looking to get off to a good start in a group that also includes Concacaf Gold Cup champion Mexico. Bermuda got its first-ever Gold Cup victory over the summer and has been tough to beat at home, topping Sint Maarten and El Salvador in Nations League qualification.
Panama qualified automatically and is coming off a Gold Cup in which the team got to the quarterfinals. It’s a new era for Panama, with this game being the debut of manager Ruben Americo Gallego.
The Argentine has plenty of experience in his attack with Gabriel Torres, Rolando Blackburn and Alberto Quintero all part of the squad, which saw its last members arrive on the island Monday.
Bermuda manager Kyle Lightbourne has cautioned against opponents overlooking his team, and it’s easy to see why with Queens Park Rangers forward Nahki Wells looking to score in the third consecutive match for the Gombey Warriors.
Forward Jonte Smith, who is looking for a club in England, and goalkeeper Jahquil Hill, who is injured, will miss out for Bermuda, while fullback Kevin Galvan had to be replaced on Panama’s roster.