Ming hoping to end on a high
Damon Ming is desperate to win the FA Cup trophy tomorrow in what could be his final match for Dandy Town Hornets.
Ming revealed to The Royal Gazette in January that this may be his last season of competitive football and yesterday he reiterated that “I'm still leaning towards this being my last season”.
Ming, last season's most valuable player when Town won the league, FA Cup and Dudley Eve Trophy, has been a stalwart for the Hornets this campaign, playing in a variety of positions.
They will go into the final as firm favourites, having thrashed Flanagan's Onions 5-1 in their final league match, which condemned tomorrow's opponents to relegation.
A win for Hornets would make it three FA Cup successes for them in the past four seasons, including in 2012, when Ming scored in a 5-2 victory over North Village.
“Anything can happen over the summer but I'm focused on finishing off this season in the right way,” the 36-year-old said. “If they need me next season, I'll be around but I'm not looking to be as committed, training-wise, because I've got some other things I want to deal with.”
Ming has enjoyed being a father figure to Town's younger players, often leading by example in a squad that showed only glimpses of the team that won three trophies last season.
“Last year I felt I was deserving of the MVP and this season I could be in the running as well because I've played just about everywhere, wherever the coach has needed me ... left midfield, right midfield, up front, right behind the striker, left back, right back. The only positions I haven't played are goalkeeper and sweeper.
“I feel I've contributed to the team and showed the younger players that not only should you be able to play your favourite position, but other positions if called upon.
“I'm just trying to lead them in the right way and it looks as though they have taken heed. In my eyes, we've had a fantastic season when you look at what we have achieved.
Ming added: “We've been in every cup final and everybody had us to be relegated midway through the first half of the season — we ended up finishing second.
“Now we're playing for the last trophy of the season, so I feel it has been a very successful season. If we win on Sunday, that will be four trophies that we've won this season, although one got taken away.
“Last season was supposed to be my last season but we had some departures and players went to school, so I stuck around this season. Unless that happens again over the summer, I probably won't be playing many games or training at all.
“In the final I'm going to try to get my name on the scoresheet so that I can say I finished off in the best way possible.”
Ming was included in the original training squad for Bermuda's World Cup qualifying campaign and would not turn down the offer if asked to lend his experience for the country's crucial matches with Guatemala.
“In the first list they put out, they had me and a few players from my team, but we were still in the Friendship Trophy and couldn't make training, so when the next list came out our names weren't there,” he said.
“I may go up and show my face; I think I can add something to the team, even just in training, to help get the guys' confidence level up because the next game is not going to be an easy task.”
Brandon Minors, the Town captain, said that his team were looking forward to the final. “Everybody is focused and we want to defend the FA Cup,” he said.
“Spirits are high despite the adversity we experienced throughout the season. As for Flanagan's, we won't take them for granted; they are a team capable of playing good football.”
As for losing Ming next season, Minors said: “Damon is an outstanding player and an outstanding example in Bermuda football.
“He will obviously be a big miss if he decides not to come back next season. We love Damon and know that Damon loves the club. He's a big part of the family here and has been for a while.
“We have a lot of youth coming through our system who are showing a lot of potential. They have looked at Damon as an example and a mentor and are adopting those same principles.”
However, Ming may not be lost entirely, as he plans to get back into coaching a youth team next season.
“A couple of years back I started coaching at the under-12 level,” Ming said. “I took a break for a couple of years, but I think that's where I'm going to focus my attention.”
n The final will start at 4pm, the PDL final between Dandy Town and PHC starts at 12pm, and the Masters Knockout final between St David's and St George's Stallions starts at 2pm.