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Brown aims to keep players focused

Devonshire Cougars have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with this season, even without influential midfielder Kwame Steede who is recovering from knee surgery.

Cougars began the campaign with a quick exit from the Dudley Eve, but they quickly found their form in the league where they head the Premier Division table by a point over PHC. The two teams meet again in a top-of-the-table clash when league play resumes on January 6.

It was against the Zebras on Tuesday night that Cougars success continued, a 3-1 extra time win in the Friendship Trophy to set up a semi-final meeting with Southampton Rangers next week.

Coach Dennis Brown didn’t put too much weight into their two Dudley Eve defeats which came in the first weeks of the new season. “I really wasn’t too concerned about being knocked out early in the Dudley Eve, I was always using that as pre-season matches for the league,” said Brown who is in his second season as coach of Cougars.

“The difference between this season and last was the fact that I now know the players, their habits, etc whereas last season I was just getting to know the players and vice versa. Also buy-in has a lot to do with it as well. When going to a new team there is a trust/buy-in issue so they now see the benefits of what I am trying to implement to the team.

The league is just half way done so I told my players that it is no time to get big-headed at this stage of the season, although we are in a good position.”

Brown confirmed that Steede will be out for the season as he recovers from surgery, but Steede has retained close ties with the team as one of Brown’s assistants on match day.

“Kwame will be out for the whole season because of injury and an operation and definitely he is missed, any team would miss the quality of a player like Kwame,” said the Bermuda assistant national coach.

With his own playing days long behind him, Brown finds himself coaching the next generation of exciting talent, including Drewonde Bascome, the son of one of Brown’s his former Bermuda teammates, national coach Andrew Bascome. Drewonde shares his father’s passion for the game, and this season is playing a key role in the Cougars midfield in the absence of Steede.

The young Bascome, who joined Cougars this season after stints at Boulevard and Robin Hood, nearly scored against PHC on Tuesday with an audacious effort from the centre circle after spotting goalkeeper Troy Hall Jr off his line during the kickoff for the second half. Hall just managed to tip the effort over the bar. Bascome notched Cougars’ second goal from a freekick in extra time as Cougars advanced.

“This (Steede’s absence) has enabled players like Chris Caisey, Moses Steede and Drewonde Bascome and others to raise their games and take more of a leadership role in the team,” said the Cougars coach.

“When Kwame comes back next season he will just add to the quality that is there and the pressure on him will be lessened because of the players being given more leadership roles this season. Kwame’s contribution has been tremendous on the bench because he has great knowledge of the game and is well respected by his teammates.”

Boulevard's Drewonde Bascome (centre) tussles with Dandy Town's Tokia Russell during his stint with Boulevard. The youngster has played a key role in Devonshire Cougars' early success this season.

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Published December 20, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated December 20, 2012 at 8:42 am)

Brown aims to keep players focused

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