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Will the Four Big Teams Stay On Top?

May 2, 2008, 8:15 AM | Article By: By Ebou Manneh

The second round of The Gambia Football Association national first division league second round kicks of today Friday 2nd of May 2008. This will be a second round of do or die games for the big teams as they must get ready to fight back.

Many soccer fans will be expecting their teams to regain form. The question is can our league become like the English Premership where the four best teams always regain their places in the table with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool always vying for the top spots.

We do recall that during the opening of the first round in the English league lot of surprises happened as newly promoted teams give the big teams a good run, but at the end the best four always come in.

In this year's Gambia Football Association national first division league we witnessed a similar situation where the newly promoted side Samger FC dominating the first round of the league. This will be a good test for the big teams in the league to stay alert as the Academy Boys look very sharp in the way they play their samba football.

Samger FC started as an academy team in 2004 they played the qualification round in 2004 2005 and gained promotion to the second division of The Gambia Football Association second division league. They were runners up in the second division league and were promoted to the first division league in 2005-2006 league season. Samger FC could not maintain the form that they enjoyed in the second division and due to a lack of experience they were relegated to the second division league again. Samger FC could have been crowned the 2007 second division champions last season but Interior FC snatched the league title and they came runners up again. This time with only by goal difference over the western division boys Brikama United who were hoping to make their first ever appearance in the GFA first division league last season. Samger FC 33 points +10 Brikama United 33 points +9. Samger FC gained promotion again as runners up to the first division league this season 2007-2008, not only in the first division league but leading the table and letting the big names know that there will be not be under dogs this season.

The team is compact and is intact as Samger have been playing together for almost 4 good years. The same players, the same teamwork, the experience combined with the intelligent tactics of former coaches like of Ebrima Manneh of Interior FC and Joe Tennis. Jaine Joof, as current Head Coach, has contributed a lot in the academy team.

In the first round of the league we witnessed good games being played and we expect the same or better in the second round.

The opening game between Hawks FC and Africell Sait Matty at the Sere Kunda West Mini Stadium will not be and easy game. Both teams met in the first round but the Red Devils of Hawks won 1-0. Both teams have prepared well for the second round after a 3 week break but will the 3rd place holders take revenge having been beaten by the Red Devils of Hawks in the first round.

The 2007 GFA league champions Real de Banjul lock horns with the Security Boys Interior FC. Both teams will be looking for a win and a win for the City Boys of Real will see them top the league as the current league leaders Samger are not in action today. Interior FC need to avoid defeat again at the hands of Real. Interior need to double their efforts if they want to stay in the first division this season.

Bakau United take on the Ferry Boys of GPA on Saturday May 3rd 2008. The Ferry Boys are still struggling since their defeat in the Confederation Cup but are not in a bad position. The only trouble is they need to focus in the second round. GPA are the first team to beat the Academy Boys in the first round with Africell Sait Matty. Bakau United are not the real Bakau giants that we knew these last 2 season as they escaped relegation last season. This season too they are still struggling at the bottom of the league table so they need to avoid defeat in the opening game of the second round with GPA.

The big game is the Academy Boys of Samger, the league leaders, taking on the Telecommunication Boys Gamtel. Some people think that the league leaders will drop points in the second round as they will be the targets in the second round for the teams that they beat. The two teams met in the first round but the Academy Boys collected the 3points when they won by 2-0.

Wallidan take on the Green Boys of Armed Forces. What an interesting game it will be. The blue boys of Wallidan and Armed Forces met in the first round and we witnessed a beautiful game, played at the Independence Stadium in Bakau. The game will not be an easy game. The Army Boys lost to Wallidan 1-0. The game will be expected to be a tough encounter  and a heavy battle in the midfield of play. The Green Boys will be looking to the arrival of their star player Omar Mbye alias O Boy which will be a bonus to them.

In the Bakau Derby Sea View take on Steve Biko.

Sea View are still struggling since the first round but looking at the record of the head coach Alhagie Sarr, former GPA coach, he is very focussed in second round games and the tactics that he uses are always workable. We expect to see a different  Sea View in the second round games. Looking at Steve Biko, the team play good football like the Brazilian samba game. They knock the ball so well with the likes of Habib Kunta and Ous Kolley always performing. But the team needs to work on their scoring ability as it seems that they lack the finishing touch.

Meanwhile the league table and the fixtures for week 12 stand as follows:

Samger  FC              21 point

Real                         18 point

Sait Matty               17 point +4

Wallidan                 17 point +2

Hawks                    15 point

Armed Forces        14 point

Steve Biko             14 point

GPA                       12 point

 Gamtel                  11 point

Seaview                 10 point

Bakau United          9   point -4

Interior  FC             9   point - 6

Fri 2/05/08   Hawks Vs Africell Sait Matty    4:30pm sk/west                    

Fri 2/05/08   Interior Vs  Real                          4:30pm sk/ east

Sat 3/05/08 B/United Vs GPA                          4:30pm sk/ east

Sat 3/05/08  Samger  Vs Gamtel                      4:30pm sk/west

Sun 4/05/08  Wallidan Vs A/Forces                   4:30pm sk/ east

Sun 4/05/08 Sea View Vs Steve Biko                 4:30pm sk/west