|BERMUDA'S COACH RESIGNS|
|KeithTucker's turbulent six-month stint as national football coach came to an abrupt end over the weekend when the former Howard University coach threw in the towel under increasing pressure due to "personal reasons" a little more than a month before Bermuda's 2010 World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain on June 15. Tucker's resignation surprised few as the beleaguered coach's short term in the post was anything but smooth sailing.
The former Somerset Trojan was often criticised for his controversial formations and his decision to sack assistant Jack Castle and verbal spat with striker Aljame Zuill didn't help matters.
"We need to get rid of Keith Tucker and fast because the players don't have any confidence in the coach whatsoever," one national team source said earlier this year.
With morale in the camp running low and the critics calling for his head, Tucker tried to cushion the blow by surrounding himself with the experience of US Olympic development coach Keith Tabatznik and former national team coach Kenny Thompson.
But with the influential Thompson back in the frame, Tucker's troubles only worsened and he was eventually forced to take a back seat as the gulf between himself and his players – who rallied around their former boss instead – widened to embarrassing proportions.
To his credit, though, Tucker leaves the national programme with three wins under his belt, the last of which advanced Bermuda in the World Cup.
Among those bidding Tucker farewell over the weekend was Bermuda Football Association (BFA) technical director Derek Broadley who has formed good working relations with coach Thompson.
"The BFA family of football would like to thank coach Tucker for his sincere dedication with the team and wish him well," he said.
BFA chief Larry Mussenden said Tucker was a man he respected highly.
"I had a very good relationship with Keith Tucker and wish him all the best in his future endeavors," he said.
"I have a huge amount of respect for him and the BFA is always open to him whenever he wishes to walk back in to chat or work with us."
For Thompson, it is the third time in four years the Somerset Eagles player/coach has been appointed national coach – a post he quit late last year in anger over a senior national programme that had remained stagnant for eight months in the lead up to this year's 2010 World Cup qualifiers.
But with a man of Broadley's vision onboard, and some of the key components required to take local football to the next level in place, Thompson believes the senior national team's future is bright.
"It's always good to be working in the national set-up and I am very excited about this particular stint because we have a lot of the components that are necessary to move Bermuda football forward," he said
"We have a recently appointed technical director, major funding for activity and the like and so we can now put together a programme that will advance our football towards the level we would like to see it, which is definitely to be one of the better teams in the CFU (Caribbean Football Union)."
Bermuda will receive the opportunity to flex their muscles against CFU rivals Barbados at the National Sports Centre (NSC) early next month in two matches Thompson believes are paramount to Bermuda's World Cup cause.
Bermuda take on regional powerhouses Trinidad and Tobago in World Cup qualifiers June 15 and 22.
"These are important matches for us because such an opponent will put us in good stead in preparation for Trinidad," Thompson said.
"It's very important because if you look at Barbados they have a lot of similarities to Trinidad and to me Barbados are one of the stronger countries and a difficult opponent to play against." (Royal Gazette, May 12, 2008)