Rangers hungry for success’
Jomar Wilkinson, the Southampton Rangers coach, says winning the Friendship Trophy has whetted his players’ appetite for more success.
Rangers defeated Devonshire Cougars 1-0 in the New Year’s Day final at Somerset Cricket Club to lift the showpiece for the fourth time.
It was the second time both teams have clashed in the Friendship Trophy final, having also met in the 1981-82 final, which Rangers also won 1-0.
“Winning the Friendship Trophy has definitely made the players hungrier,” Wilkinson said. “They are definitely hungrier for more success and I always encourage them to stay humble and just dream because anything is possible.”
The two-times Bermuda Football Association Coach of the Year has now guided Rangers to four trophies in just three seasons at the helm, which also includes back-to-back First Division Shield Trophy titles and the First Division championship. He also led them to the 2017-18 FA Cup final in his debut season which they lost 1-0 against Robin Hood.
The Friendship Trophy is Rangers’ first major title in 28 years.
“It’s just amazing, over two decades the club haven’t won anything major, which means a lot to me as a coach,” Wilkinson added.
“All credit goes to the team and the players. They execute game plans, they’re committed to training and do what they have to, and as coach I can’t ask for much more.”
Wilkinson agreed to take the reins and spearhead a revival at then First Division side Southampton Rangers in the summer of 2017.
His decision stunned many, given his superb track record in the top flight at Dandy Town.
“When I first came up here, a lot of people thought I was committing a career suicide,” Wilkinson said. “So to be winning trophies at Rangers means a lot because I wanted to test myself.”
Wilkinson says his team’s remarkable run to the Friendship Trophy title came as no real surprise to him.
“I always believed that this team could win and we proved it when we made it to the FA Cup final [2017-18],” he added.
“We have the belief that we can win and earned our place in the final. We always have the confidence and the belief that we can compete with any team in Bermuda.”
Wilkinson says Rangers’ re-emergence as a reckoning force in the top flight also owes much to team harmony.
“Rangers have a real togetherness about them and, not just in the team, but even in the community,” he said. “It’s a real togetherness and I think that’s one of the our strengths. We fight for each other and there’s a spirit in the team and in the club so we ride that.”
Rangers continued their superb start to the new year after handing Somerset Eagles a 2-0 defeat in the Premier Division at Southampton Oval at the weekend.
The result lifted Wilkinson’s team from eighth to sixth in the standings and was also their third shutout victory on the trot.
“The players did the small things that mattered,” Wilkinson said.
“We wanted to show that we appreciate the small things in the game, whether it be putting pressure on the ball, chasing back, getting toe pokes in there and being busy defensively, and the players did that.”
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