AFC TOTTON’S ON-LOAN STRIKER ENRIQUE RUSSELL has been named by Bermuda’s National Team Head Coach Kyle Lightbourne in the squad for their forthcoming CONCACAF Nations League matches against Guyana and Haiti.
The 23-year-old Enrique made a goalscoring international debut for The Gombey Warriors against the Bahamas in 2020. After being an unused substitute in the first two games of Bermuda’s 2022/23 CONCACAF Nations League Group B campaign – a 0-0 draw with Haiti in Bermuda and a 1-2 away defeat to Guyana – he came off the bench at the 27,000-capacity Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez in the Dominican Republic during Bermuda’s 2-3 defeat to Montserrat. All three games were played in June, last year.
By his own admission, Enrique’s role in the national team squad is predominantly to provide back-up for Bristol City striker Nahki Wells, who is 10 years his senior. But Enrique has accumulated 6 senior international caps and 2 goals to his name to date, and he will be hoping to add to his tally when his country entertains Guyana at the Bermuda National Sports Stadium in Devonshire Parish, on Saturday 25 March. They will then return to the Dominican Republic to take on the group leaders Haiti at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristóbal, on Tuesday 28 March.
As a teenager, Enrique was a student at Sparsholt College and he caught the eye of AFC Bournemouth’s Academy scouts while representing Hampshire Schools. An ACL injury set his progress back at a crucial time, though, and after short spells in the English non-league with Cheadle Town and Ilkeston Town, he returned to his country of birth to make his name in the game scoring goals for Pembroke Hamilton Club Zebras (or PHC Zebras) in the Bermudian Premier Division.
Bermudian international forward Enrique Russell in action for AFC Totton during their FA Cup 1st Round Qualifying victory over Wincanton Town in September 2022.
Enrique arrived at the Snows Stadium as a free agent last summer, and after being heavily involved in The Stags’ extensive pre-season campaign and featuring in the Emirates FA Cup, he made several appearances for Totton & Eling in the Wessex League Division One as a dual-registered player, weighing in with a handful of goals before being loaned to Brockenhurst in the Wessex Premier. He has settled in well at Grigg Lane, helping The Badgers to stay out of the relegation quagmire while also contributing a hat-trick in the recent 7-1 thrashing of Romsey Town in the Third Round of the Southampton Senior Cup.
Enrique comes from a rich footballing pedigree. His late father, Tokia Russell, was a defender for The Gombey Warriors, winning 8 caps and scoring 1 goal from 2000-2004. His uncle Antwan Russell, a forward, made 11 appearances for his country and scored 4 times, and he also had a spell with Ilkeston Town. Enrique’s grandfather Earl Russell is widely regarded in Bermuda as one of the country’s greatest ever footballers.
By Ben Rochey-Adams
Image courtesy of Craig Hobbs Photography