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Hogges can challenge for play-offs, says BFA’s Todd

Bermuda Football Association’s Academy director Richard Todd believes it’s time Bermuda Hogges made their mark on the Premier Development League (PDL) and reached the play-offs. Hogges, who will be coached by national team coach Andrew Bascome this season, have struggled in the PDL since dropping down a tier from the now defunct United Soccer Leagues Division 2. But, with the upcoming campaign being used as a vehicle to prepare the national side for this summer’s NatWest Island Games, Todd is confident Bascome and his coaches can reverse Hogges’ fortunes. “It’s time for Bermuda Hogges to achieve something ... qualifying for the play-offs would be a huge boost and a shot in the arm for the players and supporters,” said Todd. “The Hogges is unique because it’s an under-23 league and you’re allowed eight overage players on the roster, so at any time we could be rotating and changing. “I think we can be competitive with our overseas college-based players alongside our overage players, who will form the core group of the Island Games squad.” “I think coach Andrew will be able to put out a very strong team and we certainly recognise the importance of having a good product on the field. “I know Paul Scope (Hogges’ owner) shares that view as it would make it easier for him to attract sponsors.” Todd is a firm believer in the importance of the Hogges in developing the Island’s young talent by exposing them to overseas competition and different styles of play. And with the BFA extending a three-year agreement that will see them continue to have full control of Hogges’ on-the-pitch matters, he is optimistic about the franchise’s future, especially with Bascome performing a duel coaching role. “The Bermuda Hogges is a very important component in regards to the national team,” he said. “We know what (the Hogges) does for us in providing games — we’re not going to pick up just by staying here in Bermuda. The Hogges games are extremely important in giving players exposure and exposing them to different styles of football. “Plus, it’s certainly going to be beneficial having Andrew coaching both the national team and the Hogges in terms of continuity. “Last year the Hogges season finished, and then Andrew was appointed as national team coach to take the team to the Digicel Cup, so we lost some valuable time in terms of preparation.” Todd believes the chief reason Hogges haven’t been as successful as they would have liked is due to them often having to travel with a weaker squad due to issues with player availability. “We know the biggest challenge for the Hogges is the travel, the overseas games, as many players aren’t able to get time off work,” Todd said. “In the past they have often had to travel with very young teams who have sometimes not been as competitive as they would have liked.” Hogges’ opening game the season is against Reading United at Goose Gosling Field on May 31. Bascome’s national team are due to play England ‘C’ — a select team made up of English non-league players — on June 4 at the National Sports Centre.

BFA Academy director Richard Todd