Dream come true’ for surprised Coke
Ian Coke was named the Premier Division’s Most Valuable Player at the Bermuda Football Association awards ceremony at CedarBridge Academy on Saturday night.
The Boulevard striker was voted ahead of nominees Na’eem Griffith, of PHC Zebras, and Tahj Bell, of North Village, at the well-attended event, which also celebrated the BFA’S 50th year as a member of Concacaf.
Victor Montagliani, who defeated Larry Mussenden, the former BFA president, to become the Concacaf chief 12 months ago, was the ceremony’s special guest.
In the absence of an obvious choice for MVP, Coke said he was slightly surprised to be recognised by the other top-flight clubs as the standout player as he had missed a chunk of the season because of injury.
He finished tied on 15 goals with Angelo Simmons, of Dandy Town, as the Premier Division’s top scorer.
“I’ve been working on my game for a long time to get the recognition I deserve,” said Coke, a first-time recipient.
“It’s not been the easiest road to get here but it’s been worth the battle. It’s a dream come true for me to win this award.
“I was kind of surprised when they called my name. I was very excited.”
The 27-year-old’s scoring exploits helped Boulevard qualify for the Dudley Eve Trophy after finishing sixth in the table. He dedicated his accolade to former team-mate Patrick Dill who was killed 12 months ago.
“Patrick was a dear friend for many years and an ex-team-mate,” Coke said. “He was the captain of my Boulevard team throughout my youth and this award is for him.”
Winning the First Division MVP was Paul Simons, a vital cog in the machinery for X-Roads who gained promotion for the first time after winning the title.
Also picking up awards for X-Roads were Farid El Karfa as the second tier Coach of the Year and Dashun Cooper as Goalkeeper of the Year. The team also received a Fair Play award, with Robin Hood picking up the top-flight version.
“It’s good to be recognised for my performances,” Simons, 23, said, “although I think it was more of a team effort.”
“It’s an exciting time for the club and it will be interesting to see how we step up next season.”
Scott Morton, the PHC Zebras coach, beat off competition from Kyle Lightbourne — who led Hood to a maiden Premier Division title — and North Village’s Devarr Boyles for Coach of the Year.
Morton’s side won the FA Cup and finished runners-up in the Dudley Eve Trophy and Friendship Trophy during his first season in charge.
“All the credit goes to the players for believing in the philosophy that I’m trying to put across,” Morton said.
“I’m grateful to the club who have supported me and the team in every facet.
“I’m excited to get next season started because although we accomplished a lot this season they are still things for us to improve on.”
Several other awards were handed out at the ceremony, hosted by Earlwin “Bootsie” Wolfe, with Tomiko Goater, the Dandy Town forward, winning the Young Player of the Year, while Jahkari Furbert, the BAA winger, was given the First Division award.
Having missed out on the MVP award, Bell was named the Premier Division Goalkeeper of the Year, while the Defender of the Year awards went to Darius Cox, the Hood captain, and Jarreau Hayward of First Division St George’s.
Hayward’s team-mate Donovan Thompson was also presented with his top scorer award.
The officiating awards were handed to Garic Swainson as the Referee of the Year and Amouri Majors as the Young Referee of the Year.
Bobby Emmett, the Hood general secretary, Allan Young, the Village vice-president, Carneal Smith, a long-serving Devonshire Colts administrator, Charles Marshall, a former top referee and BFA president, and Dr Gerard Bean, a former BFA president, were the five recipients of the Order of Merit awards.
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