Ascension : Ascension Island Football Association – Team News
Submitted by The Islander (Islander Editors) 06.03.2014 (Article Archived on 20.03.2014)
The new season is almost upon us and the big talking point before the season kicks off is the withdrawal of the once dominant Retards and Two Boats Rowdies who has also won tournaments in recent years.
But as teams fold on Ascension new ones are formed and with the addition of a contractor’s team we have six teams entering this season.
Here is all the gossip, transfers and team news before it all kicks off on the 18th March!
Team: Inbetweeners Team Colours: Orange/Black Captain: Richard ‘Crocky’ Thomas
Inbetweeners will have a different look this season, once known for giving senior debuts to young players this season they look far more experiencedwhich is what they might have lacked in seasons gone by. They have kept their usual group of players, Gareth ‘Suse’, Nicky ‘Rings, Ianie, Robert ‘Black Cat’, Alec ‘Skipper’ and Ryan George and have brought Chae ‘Bunny’ back into the team whilst signingMycle ‘Dook’ and Michael ‘BBC’. Rumours have it that they have also signed a new goal keeper but we’ll have to wait until their first match to see if the rumours are true!
With a more experienced team, this year Inbetweeners will be less of a push over than previous seasons, with another few days to go before the season kicks off they might still bring in a few more signings to help strengthen their cause. Who knows this year might be the year Inbetweeners break their duck!
Team: IDL United Team Colours: Pink/Black Captain: Shonray Phillips
A new team this season made up entirely of IDL employees. The signing of Geordie ‘Cox’ from VC Milan was a surprise but a good one as he is a proven goal scorer on Ascension. They also managed to persuade several key players to sign from Raiders including, Shonray Phillips, Simeon Coleman, Mario ‘Peaches’ and Robert Bongis giving them a solid base to build their team and with Damon ‘Jo’ in goal they will be confident their goal is well protected. Their attempt to reunite ‘Peaches’ with his former Two Boats Rowdies midfield partner Colin ‘Shoe’ failed however as he chose to sign for Two Boats United.
IDL have played more friendlies in the closed season than most, perfecting their team tactics and getting their players fit, which means out of all the teams entering this year they should be the most prepared and with several players in their side having won titles in the past they will no doubt be a threat to many.
Team: MCR Team Colours: Blue/Blue Captain: Mark MacKay
An unknown this year is MCR, made up of contract workers on the Island who have played several friendlies leading up to the start of the season and winning all of them, although as we know, friendlies at night on Ascension is nowhere near the same as matches in the Georgetown heat. They have several players who have adapted quickly to the Ascension surface who will be players to watch out for as they go up against the other teams. They also gave former Retards captain Eugene Bennett a trial in an attempt to have establish Island players in their team, they appeared happy with Bennett’s performance but he has since opted to sign for Raiders.
There have been plenty of banter coming out of the MCR camp leading up to the new season and with probably a new style of football they may catch some teams by surprise as they look to win the title but it all depends on how they cope in the harsh Ascension conditions.
Team: Raiders Team Colours: Blue/White Captain: Ashley Clingham
League Runners-up two seasons in a row, Raiders who are traditionally very busy in the closed season signing new playershave had the tables turned on them this year with the creation of IDL United, who they have lost 6 players to. In doing so however they might have become stronger team, many believed that Raiders had too many big names in their sidethat didn’t gel together like everyone expected they would. They have also taken advantage of the folding of Retards by signing goal keeper Paul Kelly, former Retards captain Eugene Bennett who they hope will fill the void in attack left by Shonray Phillips and winger Leroy ‘Sikey’. Robert Duncan has been brought into the team to add tough tackling in defence or midfield which is what they might have lacked in losing Mario ‘Peaches’. There are also rumours that Ashley has preliminarily signed a player in St Helena but this move is subject to an Ascension work permit.
Raiders will be challenging for silverware again this season and with their new signings they now seem to have a more balanced team, which could finally see them achieve their target of Ascension Champions which they have just missed out on for the past two seasons.
Team: Two Boats United Team Colours: Green/Black Captain: Allan ‘Bluey’ Williams
A new team have come from the ashes of the now discontinued Two Boats Rowdies, a group of players who have come together from matches at the MUGA on Friday evenings. Captain Bluey has put together a team of experience and youth that should benefit them well over the course of the season. He’s managed to persuade several players out of retirement, including the likes of Trevor ‘Titch’, Nicholas ‘Duce’. BerardDupres and Andrew ‘Papa’. Youth and pace comes into the team from youngsters Scott Duncan and Cody Harris, two players who now have a few senior seasons under their belts, with Cody having picked up silverware already in his career. Schmichael Benjamin has also signed following the fold of Retards giving United more youth and experience in their side. Seasoned players have also signed including midfield powerhouse Colin ‘Shoe’, Melvyn Moyce and Billy Minto who will help lead the other players on the field.
Two Boats seemed to have struck a good balance in their squad but without seeing them in action it will be hard to predict how they will get on this season, but with the likes of Bluey, ‘Shoe’ and Melvyn leading the way they might well be the surprise team this year.
Team: VC Milan Team Colours: Red/Yellow Captain: Errol Thomas
The reigning Double Champions will be looking to defend their titles this season which will include going for a 3rd League Title in a row. They still have the usual core of players in the squad but as in previous years have added youth to the side. This year they will be giving Ascension debuts to youngsters Dominic Augustus and Scott Coleman with Kyle Francis replacing Captain Errol Thomas, last season’s Goal Keeper of the season between the sticks. The major change this season is long time servant Geordie ‘Cox’ Peters leaving to join IDL United, if it is a loan deal or not is left to be seen but Milan will have to find goals from elsewhere as Cox was Milan’s top scorer despite coming off the bench for most matches last season. Another absent player is last season’s Player of the Season Andrew ‘Kingy’ Kingston who has left the Island (rumours have it that Milan are negotiating a short-term return, but this is work permit depending).New signing Chris O’Rourke has joined from Retards with the aim to add goals to the team.
There is no doubt Milan will be playing to regain their titles but with the loss of Cox’s goals it might be a harder task than previous years as teams around them have strengthen and will no doubt up their game against them.
That is the 2014football season teamround up, everything is all set for the first match on the 8thMarch, 4pm at Long Beach Football Ground. The ground has facilities for sitting, standing and drive-in with capacity for the whole Island, so why not come on down in your favourite teams colours and show your support!
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Thank you to AIG for the preparation of the field even though they are busy with the road project and to CSR and in particular Ashley and Dion for giving up their time to help.
A reminder toall players that shin pads must be worn, you will not be allowed to play without them.
Volunteer Referees required, please contact Mario 6351 / Catherine 6428