The Imobile Premier Division continues this evening with a double header at the ARG.
In the first game winless Cool & Smooth Empire take on newly promoted Sea View Farm while Bassa and defending champions Asot’s Arcade Parham will clash in the feature match.
Parham, the defending champions must be fuming following its loss in the eastside derby against newly promoted La Busola Willikies on Sunday.
With a mere four points from as many matches, Parham must be felling like ‘fish out of water’ after winning the title a season ago.
They currently sit seventh in the ten-team standings tied with Willikies on points and above the Warriors on goal difference.
Below Parham and Willikies are two winless teams in Empire and Bullets.
Parham must be on ‘fire.’
Losing to Willikies must be a bitter pill to swallow for coach Rolston “Debu” Williams and Parham, a team with a huge fan base and a sponsor with extra long pockets.
It may not be time for Debu to hit the ‘panic button but surely owner of Asot’s Arcade, Asot Michael may be dialing numbers to Jamaica for reinforcement.
Debu may object but Michael gets what Michael wants, at least in Parham.
On the other hand, Bassa is tied with Sea View Farm on seven points and a points-differential of one, both with two wins, a draw and a loss from four games each.
Bassa has scored seven goals giving up six strikes.
Farm has scored two less goals with four goals passing them.
Bassa may be aware of Farm’s record but the focus today will be Parham and an opportunity to gain some respect in this league.
Sure Bassa is a former back to back champion and has dominated football in Antigua & Barbuda over the past six years or so.
This Bassa team however, is a far cry from the team that won multiple championships and has won the hearts and minds of many football fans throughout the twin island state.
At the end of last season Bassa crumbled.
It seemed like the only thing that lingered was the name and yes, the club’s executive, which included two former players, Schyan “Skemup” Jeffers and “Saxman” Watts.
The two are home head coach and assistant with Jeffers holding the top job.
Jeffers maintains that Bassa is ok despite the fact that 99 percent of the starting 11 left the club.
Many doubted Jeffers when before the season he proclaimed that the now young Bassa team will be able to compete at the top level.
In their last outing Bassa knocked off Empire 2-1 and is looking forward to the clash with the defending champions.
“We know that there are two possibilities with Parham tonight.”
“They will either come out firing, still fuming from the loss of Willikies or they may be ‘down’ still licking their wounds from the beating.
“No matter what, we will be ready,” Jeffers said.
Without giving up too much of his game plan, Jeffers said that if Parham comes out aggressively, it will give his team an opportunity to catch them off guard counter on the counter.
If they come out pouting, then his team will take full advantage knocking them out early.
But Jeffers is realistic.
“Parham is the champion and I expect them to come out with a high tempo but we will be ready,” the coach stated.
Jeffers believes that the win against Empire was well deserved and the team will be coming out to duplicate its previous performance, notwithstanding the fact that Parham is champion.
“We respect them (Parham) for what they have accomplished but we will be coming out to win,” Jeffers exclaimed.
“Most of the guys (Bassa) are very upbeat.
“They are in high spirits and they recognize what we are aiming to accomplish.
This for Jeffers is going to be a statement season, not just for the team but for the fans, especially people in All Saints.
“We play for the community and family.
“We also try to display exciting and attractive football,” the Bassa coach said.
Empire, despite 13 championships in the past is struggling and looking for its first win against Farm.
Just two points separate Empire from Bullets who sits in the cellar on one points from four games with Empire playing one more game than Bullets’ four.
With two wins and a draw from seven matches Farm may be sitting pretty at this point but standings aside, Farm cannot sit on its laurels.
Empire is an institution, an extremely successful one at that and no team, especially Farm can take this team for granted.
Empire is desperate and that is not a good sign for any team they play from here on in.
Next year, Empire celebrates it fiftieth anniversary and surely they would not want to commemorate such a hallmark outside of the top flight.
Farm has scored five goals in four games while Empire has hit the nets just twice giving up seven goals along the way.
With five goals scored and four strikes against Farm cannot be too optimistic about its chances of beating Empire.
But with one of the most decorated players to even down the Empire uniform for Empire as its head coach in Veron “Epilus” Edwards, the Farm men must be ‘all ears’ on what to do and expect on the pitch later tonight.
The Empire fans are tough and at times they can will their team to victory.
If anyone knows about Empire it’s Epilus, he captained that ship for many years in the past.
Tonight will be one time that the fans will have to lift this team in the hopes that ‘Empire strikes back.
Courtesy of the ABFA Webnews Team