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Triple Crown was fitting end to Cougars’ season Blankendal

Bermuda Football Association first vice-president Cal Blankendal has praised Devonshire Cougars’ Triple Crown-winning efforts ... with two of the titles coming at his own club Dandy Town’s expense.

Last year Town were the best team of the season after winning the league, Dudley Eve and FA Cup. Now Cougars have matched their achievement by winning the league, Friendship and FA Cups for the first time, something that coach Dennis Brown, Blankendal’s colleague at Bermuda’s Brazilian Football School, attributes to hard work and commitment, including sometimes training on holidays. The Cougars players also dedicated the season to the memory of former player Tumaini Steede who was killed in a road crash last summer.

“Until Devonshire Cougars looked like they were going to win the Triple Crown the season probably would have ended on an average note,” said Blankendal. “I think Devonshire Cougars winning the Triple Crown and the success of the FA Cup behind that actually brought a high to the end of the season.

With Hamilton Parish’s nail-biting finish with St David’s (First Division) and actually coming out on top as league champions and having a successful Kappa Tournament, those were a great way to close the season in both the senior and youth leagues.”

The Premier Division league race looked like going right down to the wire but North Village slipped up at home to Somerset Trojans which effectively handed Cougars the title with two matches remaining. In the end Cougars finished eight points ahead of second-placed PHC, though Town, who finished 12 points behind the champions in fifth place, at least earned the distinction of being the only team to beat Cougars in the league, a 5-2 result one night at Devonshire Rec last October.

And even though only a few hundred people saw Cougars complete the Triple Crown with victory over Somerset Trojans in the FA Cup final last weekend, Blankendal believes Cougars’ achievements have set the bar for what could be an exciting campaign next season.

“With Town, teams were like ‘we’re coming after you’, ‘Village, we’re coming after you’ and now they’re going after Cougars,” said Blankendal. “Cougars’ task will be monumental because they have to defend titles on three fronts and if they lose one the fans will be saying ‘you didn’t win this one’.

“In Bermuda you can win the league on dedication and not talent. Cougars had a good, talented team but they didn’t win the league based on the talent pool, no they won it because they were more dedicated to each other, and maybe the passing of Tumaini had something to do with that. But Cougars won the league because they were dedicated to each other, listened to the coach and as a club they made a decision of what they were going to do this season.

“If other clubs say they are going to do the same thing it will be a more competitive environment for everybody. I want Cougars to keep their level of intensity up for three or four seasons and that will only tell other clubs to hire better coaches, expect more from their players and to put more into their programme.

“Dennis even said ‘sometimes I can’t make a Brazilian Football School session because the commitment we have at the club this season is to try to do everything for Tumaini’. That was the commitment that the club made. Dennis is not going to allow that programme to go back and if one player is not training than he is going to put the other guy in who is training.”

Blankendal believes Dandy Town, the team to beat at the start of the season, may have become a bit complacent this season after so much success in 2011-12.

“Dandy Town have never won the league back to back despite that talent pool of the Walter Mussons, ‘Rip’ Canns, Wayne Campbells, Troy Durhams. It was not because of ability but because of mental strength and determination,” said Blankendal.

“Winning one year but not recognising that you have to be better the next year to be repeat champions means that you are not going to be successful. When Devarr Boyles coached Dandy Town he had a rule that if the game was 3 o’clock you had to be at the field by 1.30, if not do not come to the game. Town were very successful when Devarr Boyles was there.

“Coaches who stick to their principals will have success in Bermuda.”

BBFS CEO Cal Blankendal

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Published April 11, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm)

Triple Crown was fitting end to Cougars’ season Blankendal

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