Week two in the AFL
Must win for Empire, Parham and Grenades
by Ian “Magic” Hughes
It’s week two in the ABFA Premier Division and already defending champions Asots Arcade Parham and former 13-time champions Cool & Smooth Empire are in ‘must win’ modes.
Strange as that may seem both teams are staring 0-2 starts directly in the face.
The good thing, though, is they play each other which means both cannot be 0-2 after they clash in the feature game seven pm on Sunday.
Both coaches, Rolston “Debu” Williams of Parham and Steveroy “Demon” Anthony have promised to rebound from their respective opening game losses.
Peter “Big Pete” Byers made a mockery of a depleted Parham defence scoring a hat trick in Sap’s 5-1 demolition of the defending champions.
With national center back Akeem “Leppy” Thomas absent, Paham’s defence was ordinary at best and Byers took full advantage.
Well, Thomas is still out and will be for at least another week or two which leaves the aging Ranjae Christian to shoulder the brunt of Empire’s attacking force.
That he has ‘aging’ legs has struck a nerve in Christian and he may attempt to prove that he is that rugged and feared utility player he once was.
An agitated Christian may just be what the doctor ordered for Parham’s defence and for coach Williams.
Without a goal in its opening game, however, Empire may not pose too much of a threat for Parham, depleted defence or not.
Parham’s best defence though may be its offence led by captain and the sensational Tevaughn “Peter Redz” Harriet who still has the appetite to score goals.
Anthony has promised a victory just as he promised that Empire would finish in the top three of the competition.
Both predictions may be in jeopardy if Parham can pull off a victory on Sunday.
In the second game of the triple header on Sunday, newly promoted Fitzroy’s Rewinding Pigotts Bullets who picked off Empire on opening day takes on Flow Old Road.
A former back to back champion Old Road lost 0-1 last week to Cool & Smooth Green Bay Hoppers, in a game that Old Road squandered a number of chances.
To be fair, Hoppers squandered chances as well but Old Road did show at least for brief moments that they will not be a push over in the league.
Bullets is coming off a high but may find that Old Road is a formidable opponent despite the loss to Hoppers.
Bullets must convert its chances because the Old Road attack though inconsistent can catch fire at any time.
Prior to that game, Hoppers will entertain Five islands in a Gray’s Green derby, which should favor Hoppers.
Tamarley “Ziggy” Thomas and coach Vaughn “Pop T” James have a lot to prove for Hoppers.
Thomas decided to sit out the national team’s matches against Guatemala and many in the country are unhappy with that decision.
He scored the lone goal against Old Road and he must continue to score if he is to erase the ill feelings that local football fans have towards him.
For James, he has to fulfill the ultimate goal, win a championship or resign and leave the club.
At least that’s the word coming out of the Hoppers club about a coach who has almost all of the seven years he has been at the club, seeing the promise land but yet to claim glory.
In the feature game on Saturday, Jennings Grenades, with its eight overseas based players is staring an 0-2 start as well come up against Ottos Rangers.
The one-nil loss to Sani Pro Fort Road on Sunday was a ‘hard pill to swallow’ for coach Derrick “Pretty Boy” Edwards and the Grenades’ fans.
Edwards must justify the unpopular position of shipping in eight overseas players to play on his team.
He must beat Rangers who gained a point against Five islands last week.
This Week kicks off with the extremely hot and attacking Sap coming up against Fort Road in a game that may be difficult to predict.
Both teams are coming off huge wins, especially Fort Road who shocked the ARG by knocking off Grenades.
Over the years, Sap has been very unpredictable to gauge due to its inconsistent play.
It’s that inconsistency that Fort Road may be ‘banking’ on if they are to produce another upset like they did a week ago.
Coach Schyan “Jeffers has Fort Road believing they can win but if Sap plays anywhere close to the way they did against Parham it will be a long day for Fort Road.
Byers is listed as doubtful after irritating a knee injury during that goal fest against Parham.
He is likely to play but even if he doesn’t, the Sap’s attacking force is deadly with or without Byers.
It’s week two and already there are must wins and must see games slated for the ARG both Saturday and Sunday.