Puerto Rico coach Colin Clarke dismissed suggestions that his side are among the worst in the world and warned Bermuda to expect a tough challenge next weekend.

The former Northern Ireland international shrugged off his team's lowly FIFA ranking - 196th out of 207 teams - and insisted they had plenty of quality

He said their position at the bottom of the pile - compared to Bermuda's 146th - had more to do with inactivity than lack of ability.

And he insisted the national programme, which has been dormant for several years, was now starting to experience a revival.

"There's no such thing as an easy game. I think, not having played for three or four years, we just got dropped down to the bottom of the rankings.

"That ranking is more to do with the fact that we haven't played.

"But if you ask me where I think we should be ranked, I wouldn't have a clue.

"What ranking are Bermuda? About 150? They are a good team and that's a good target for us."

The newly appointed coach and his squad will arrive in Bermuda on Sunday for two games against Keith Tucker's national side next weekend.

Clarke, who played for a number of clubs in England including Southampton and Portsmouth, was drafted in to lead the national team in December and held his first training sessions this week.

The Irishman, a former MLS coach with FC Dallas, is also head coach at Puerto Rico's professional side the Puerto Rico Islanders, which plays a level above the Bermuda Hogges in USL 1 (also known as the A-League).

He said around six Puerto Ricans were regulars for his pro side and would form the core of his first national team.

"This is the first time I've been involved with the national team. We started training two days ago and this will be our first game. It's going to be a big challenge."

He said defender Marco Velez, one of the top players in the USL last season, was the team's star player.

The Puerto Rico Islanders, bolstered by players from the U.S., Central America and Europe, reached the play-offs in the A-League and attracted more than 13,000 fans to their final home game - evidence, says Clarke, that the sport is undergoing a renaissance.

"Soccer has taken off here in the last few years. It has been given a new impetus by the pro team and there are a lot of kids starting to play. It's an exciting time for the sport."

Clarke believes that, with a population of roughly 4 million, Puerto Rico has the potential to challenge the bigger teams in the region.

"The CONCACAF region is tight, there are six or seven teams that dominate - Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Honduras, teams like that.

"They are the big boys and the rest are struggling to be the next big team. That is where we want to be."

At the moment, though, baseball, basketball and boxing still dominate the Puerto Rican sporting scene, and soccer is just at the beginning of its rebuilding process.

Clarke hopes to use the games against Bermuda, build up to their own World Cup qualifier against the Dominican Republic, to learn more about his players and to see where they actually fit in the world stage.

"I've only had the players for a couple of days so I am still getting to know their strengths and weaknesses. I'll have a better idea after the two games against Bermuda.

"Basically it's about getting to see them in game situations, in competitive situations, building towards our World Cup qualifier."