Village and Rangers battle for Charity Cup
Southampton Rangers expect to involve their new signings when they take on North Village tonight at the National Sports Centre in the Charity Cup involving last season’s league and Friendship Trophy winners.
Rangers made some key signings during the summer, picking up midfielders Tre Ming from PHC and Tre Manders from Dandy Town, while Vernon Perinchief has returned after a stint with the Somerset Trojans.
Dion Stovell, who plays in the same Rangers cricket team as Manders, has also returned from Trojans to provide some extra experience up front.
Coach Jomar Wilkinson is optimistic about the team’s prospects this season, with Village providing them with their first test.
Rangers get the chance to play in the Charity Cup because there was no FA Cup winner as the final between North Village and Robin Hood was not played because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“First, I would like to pay respect to our late ‘Townsey’ Russell who gave so much to the game we love,” said Wilkinson, acknowledging the former Key West Rangers and PHC legend who died last weekend at the age of 91.
“On behalf of the Rangers family we send our condolences and want the Russell family to know they are in our thoughts and prayers.”
“Our pre-season has been progressing fairly well, players have shown a high level of commitment which is very encouraging.
“We still have a long way to go but I’m pleased with where we are at this moment.
“The opportunity to play in the Charity Cup gives us the chance to gauge ourselves against quality opposition like the league champions.
“The lads are extremely excited about the opportunity and will be doing their utmost to create more history at Rangers.”
“Tre Ming, Dion Stovell, Tre Manders and Vernon Perinchief have really helped to create that competitive environment needed to improve players. All of the new signings have bought into our football philosophy.
“They all come with a winning mentality and a know how which is always good. We haven’t decided on a final eleven but I can assure you that all of the new signings will play a part.”
Rangers and North Village met in their final game of the season back in March, with Rangers inflicting a shock 4-0 loss on Village who had already wrapped up the league title. It proved to be only Village’s second loss in the league last season.
The final round of games were never played because of the pandemic, with Rangers able to hold on to their Premier Division status and secure the final Dudley Eve spot-on goal difference.
Since then, Village have lost talented youngster Chekai Caisey to Devonshire Cougars while Tariq Bean has returned to Robin Hood after one season at Bernard Park, taking with him Justin Bell.
“Our team is pretty much a settled team from last season,” said Thompson who confirmed that veterans Troy Tucker and Keishon Bean will be missing from tonight’s line-up.
“We’ve had a good pre-season, consistent with a high workload. We’re just putting our foundation down for the start. We’re playing our first matches with the Charity Cup and Dudley Eve which we didn’t do last season.
“Now we’re playing in competitions that we want to win, of course, and at the same time competitions that will allow us to get into a match rhythm for the start of the league season.”
Thompson is not fazed by the expectations placed on his team this season.
“That comes with the territory,” he added.
“North Village is a club that really should have that target. It has a great history, with competitive teams and winning trophies and should be one of those teams that teams would want to be at their best against.”
Despite attempts made, no word has been forthcoming from the Bermuda Football Association regarding possible limits to crowd sizes and other safety measures.
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