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Week 3 Rumours

Week two saw further separation between the contenders and pretenders, and though it’s early, it looks like certain teams look a cut above the rest, while others seem like they have their work cut out for them. The season is still in its infant stages, but we have some excitement already budding around the league table – let’s see what’s going down heading into Matchweek 3.


Jerusalem FC vs, Sham FC (8:45PM on Field 3)

Jerusalem FC
“Dekha hai pehli baar, Saqib ki aankhon main pyaar.” Alone. Alone he sat on draft day. Saqib ‘Ramos’ Dadabhoy (Ed Note: Saqib requested we put the ‘Ramos’ thing in) only knew one thing in his BISL career – Jerusalem blue. But, after GM Zahid Merchant faced a tough decision of who to keep going into the next season, Dadabhoy was the odd man out. This coupled with the fact that Saqib’s defensive partner and childhood friend Rizvan Merchant would not lacing up his boots this year left the man from Pickering in a disheveled state. What if he gets picked up by another club? What if he is partnered with a poor defensive partner? What if he is asked to play something other than defence? So many questions. So little answers. But slowly, things sorted themselves out. Dadabhoy fell to Jerusalem and they without hesitation brought him back into the mix, but surrounding him were a bunch of newcomers and guys he had not played with before. Unsure of what to expect, he decided to put faith in the team’s core as he had in years past, and ‘trust the process.’ The team set up a practice a week before opening day, and Saqib was partnered with newcomer Mohammad Variava, and what a pairing it proved to be. Saqib’s happy, really happy. So happy that if you look close, you see a little twinkle in Saqib’s eye when he hears Mohammad’s English accent on the pitch. Could this duo prove to be better than Riz & Saqib for the Sky Blues? It is too early to tell, but while Riz and Saqib both were aggressive and fantastic defenders, Variava and Dadabhoy have contrasting styles that compliment each other perfectly. Though not all of Saqib’s questions were answered with utmost positivity (he still has to ply the backline with champion-coattail-riding extraordinaire Hashim Ghazi for a few defensive shifts every week), the man could not help but hum the most romantic of Bollywood songs every night building up to Matchday. This week, Saqib and JFC are again without Variava and the boy named Ziggy, but look to come out proving that they have the depth to make it three in a row in the early stages of the campaign.

Sham FC
In six-a-side football, there are only so many ways to line up. Basically, you go 2-2-1, or if you’re really pushing for a goal, you go 2-1-2. But a squad of six won’t limit Sham’s new GM Usman Aslam from trying new tactics to better match up with the competition. Aslam set his men out in a 3-1-1 – yup, three defenders. With Anatolia’s silky display with the ball in week 1, he knew that in order to stop them, you had to limit their space to operate. And so he did just that, stifling his opponents for the first thirty or so minutes of the match. However, when Sham realized they not only had a shot of holding the Turks from putting up big numbers, but actually scoring some goals themselves, they lost their shape and pushed to put the tie away. This led to a loss of shape, and a 4-2 defeat. Sham had a lot of positives to take from the match though. For one, switching your approach just a week in shows that Aslam is not afraid to take risks and ask his squad to play in a system that gives them the best chance to win – even if it changes every week. And his men responded, but got caught up in old habits that led to their demise. Will the Orangemen maintain their shape this week? The schedule has not been too kind to the lads either, as they faced two of the three most impressive teams in the League thus far. This week? They face the third in Jerusalem FC. It will be interesting to see if Aslam goes with the 3-1-1 again, or whether he trusts the dynamic play of Ahmad Alvi and Mohammed Mahmood to try and take the game by the reins from the get-go. The team is starved of points in the table and will need a commanding performance from everybody in order to change that this week.


Samarra FC vs. Hejaz FC (8:45PM on Field 4)

Samarra FC
I know. I know, I know, I know. We have to say it again, but it truly is the case – these guys are WAY better than their record shows. The redblacks played a good game versus Jerusalem FC last week, and fought back from 2-0 down only to give up a goal in the last few minutes to their opponents for the loss. Week 1 was difficult, as they just could not figure out how to set up defensively. GM Umer Jabbar had the staunchest defence in the League last year, and would come through on whatever few scoring opportunities they had to win games. One-nil. Two-nil. Two-one. They would shut down the opponent with excellent organization at the back, and then do what was necessary to get the W. After week one, it looked like they had to do the opposite. With Assistant GM (and Hakka-free diet advocate) Umair Jabbar now putting in work up front, and League rookies Danish Khan and Khizer Shahzad striking fear in opposing defenses, Umer went bold. He started the match last week with Numair Bari, the self-proclaimed ‘fastest man in the League,’ in defense. Usain Numair was an all-star last year in midfield, but being the professional he is, took the role with pride and added some much needed distribution and control at the back for the boys in black. de Grasse Bailey Bari was superb in his defensive position, and played a role in the team’s offense down the stretch as well – he screened and put on the slightest of touches on a laser by Danish Khan to even up the tie last week (which he happily gave credit to Khan for - which is 'character' in the truest sense). However, Samarra face an injury crisis as newcomer Mueed Tanveer, a steady contributor to the side, faces a fitness test prior to kickoff next week. They face Hejaz this week, and if they play like last week’s version rather than the Week 1 version, they will be confident in collecting their first points of the season.

Hejaz FC
Oh, what a difference eight months can make. Since BISL’s inception, Hejaz has been the toast of the league; they won back-to-back titles, and have dropped a total of 11 points during those years. This year? The team has lost two matches, which is one more than they lost over the last two years combined. Has there officially been a changing of the guard in BISL? It’s too early to say, considering that both losses came at the hands of two teams that look in top form so far, but it’s definitely not too early to say that Los Blancos have their work cut out for them. Do you start with the defence (7 goals against in two matches) or with the offense (a shocking one goal thus far)? The squad needs to sort itself out at the back for starters. With talented marksmen like Muhammad Shah, AK and Faheem Kotwal (when healthy) in the side, the goals will surely start to come. But what about that backline? There’s talk of potentially moving one of their stronger midfielders to the back to solidify their base, and then rely on movement and opportunistic counter-attacking to put numbers on the board. Not all is bleak for the reigning champs though. Asif Ibn Rehana looks like a gem of a signing, proportionate to Sol Campbell in his hey-day, since he's come in for Salim Jaichi after the striker withdrew due to injury, and newcomer Omar Adil showed a lot of poise in last week’s drubbing at the hands of Andalusia. Those two will only build on their chemistry and will need to in order to resuscitate their side's season. It has to happen soon, as with every coming week, Hejaz finds itself in a deeper and deeper hole to get out of. They go up against fellow 0-2 squad Samarra this week, could this be the week it finally comes together? All that quality has to bear fruits eventually…right?


Anatolia FC vs. Andalusia FC (9:45PM on Field 3)

Anatolia FC
A lot of questions surrounded Anatolia after their draft, especially from yours truly. How are you going to draft two guys that play exactly like their star player Zain Khilji? There is only one ball on the pitch – how do you expect playmakers Taqi Ahmed and Kamil Lotia, both known for their playmaking ability, to share the ball, much less with someone who arguably may be the best playmaker in the League. However, Khilji knew something the rest of us didn’t. He figured that by playing with two elite playmakers, he could finish plays instead of set them up. The result? Khilji’s netted an audacious 8 goals in his first two matches, with Taqi and Kamil contributing five assists to what looks like the League’s best offense. Factor in this trio with the box-to-box play of Nehad Shihab, who is the only other Turk to score this season besides Captain Khilji, and these guys look GOOD. In MW1 they looked dominant with a controlling display against Samarra, but in week two, they got tested by Sham and showed their true grit by coming back from behind and getting another three points. However, not all is rosy on the Yellow Submarine. Defensive stalwart Shoaib Gaya missed the opening week of the season with a knee injury, and was seen limping off the pitch last week after the team’s victory. Sho6i remains a vital piece of keeping the backline strong and commanding while his teammates continue to do work up front. If he is to miss more time, then Anatolia will have no choice but to pin Nehad back as opposed to letting him storm forward when called to. Shihab is at his best when he has the positional freedom to contribute on both ends of the pitch; but losing a stud like Gaya may require the all-star to put his offensive presence on the backburner to fortify the defence. Anatolia’s flowing offense take on the impressive Andalusia this week, who have yet to give up a goal. Who will come out on top – the unstoppable force or immovable object?

Andalusia FC
I said it before, but it bears repeating…oh, what a difference eight months can make. Andalusia were repeatedly basement dwellers in the League, mustering up a meek 14 points in their first two seasons combined. The team clearly knew how to play the game, but just could not convert their performances into wins. This year is a different story. They have scored seven and have yet to concede a goal. Again, they have yet to concede a goal in indoor soccer. That is nothing short of incredible and they deserve praise for it. They play a cohesive and aggressive style of football, with every man putting in work on both sides of the pitch to keep them ticking. The recipe? New guys! Andalusia brought in essentially the same team two years running, and management recognized the need to rebuild if they wanted to succeed. Back in blue are familiar faces in the Karamat brothers, Junaid Mirza, Hassan Chaudhry and Shaharyar Khan. But the new guys are the ones making all the noise. Ali Chaudhry debuted in the league with a pair of goals in week one and a clean sheet (while rocking no goalie mitts) in week two. Zain Khan has been a rock in defense, and chipped in two goals of his own last week. And Hassan “the one with the a” Chaudhary has been giving fits to opposing defenses with his size and length up front. This team is a complete 180 from what we are used to, and the League is taking notice. With GM Mirza likely back between the sticks this week, the Spaniards look to keep their shutout season going. However, they face their toughest task yet in Anatolia, a squad that has already put up ten goals in two weeks. All signs point to this one being an action-packed match.

Week 2 Recap

 
Matchweek 2 is in the books, and half the teams went to 2-0 and the other half stand at 0-2. Here's a recap of the night's action.

Game 1: Samarra FC - 2 | Jerusalem FC - 3

The match was an open contest with both sides trading jabs until Jerusalem engine Omar Sheikh opened up on the scoring on a great counterattacking move midway through the first half. The score remained 1-0 heading into the break, and Furhan Azmat, who continually pops up in the right spots in front of goal, netted his second of the season to put his team up 2-0 early in the second. Not looking to lose another game, Samarra ramped up the intensity and aimed to get back into the game. It all started with some pressure by newcomer Khizer Shahzad led to an uncharacteristic cough-up by JFC in their own half and the lad pulling one back for his side. Then Numair Bari, who played in the backline for his side to add some stability, pushed up on a set-piece that led to a goal by Danish Khan after Bari’s movement in front of net disrupted the JFC fill-in keeper Umair Wasim’s view of the shot. The momentum shifted completely in favour of the Samarrans, but Jerusalem held their ground and focused on getting the W. They indeed got it, as workhorse Omar slotted in his second of the night in the last dying minutes to give his men a hard-fought three points.

Man of the Match: Omar Sheikh


Game 2: Anatolia FC - 4 | Sham FC - 2

The match was very entertaining to witness as both sides were pushing for the win despite their respective weaknesses. Anatolia had most of the possession and play very pretty and nimble football but sham played an unconventional 3-1-1 to tighten up the gaps keeping the explosive Anatolia side scoreless at half. As a result, Sham were able to counter and a Mohammed Mahmood shot from distance beat the keeper to his top right to put Sham 1 up. The second half was a more open game where Zain Khilji came alive and scored 3, to tie the game at 1 apiece, then scoring the winner at 2-2 and finishing it off with a 4-2 final score. Nehad Shihab’s top corner tying goal gave Anatolia the momentum to push for the win while Sham lost concentration to keep from conceding. Ahmad Alvi scored one of his own early in the second half, but wasn’t enough to put Sham ahead for good.

Man of the Match: Zain Khilji


Game 3: Andalusia FC - 4 | Hejaz FC - 0

Andalusia is really looking like a contender having not conceded thus far. The game was very fast paced from both sides, but Hejaz were unable to create a quality chance in front of goal. Andalusia pushed high up the pitch and connected well in the final third where Fahim Karamat put in a pair of goals early in the game. Faheem Kotwal withdrew from the game 10 minutes in and Ibrahim Sardar took the role in the goal to make some spectacular saves to keep the score from getting out of hand. Ali Chaudhry was a goalie on the mission, leaving his goal to have a shot at goal from 20 yards and hitting the post. Zain Khan was able to score 2 more from the high pressure up the pitch. Hejaz seemed to be scrambling all match which allowed Andalusia.

Man of the Match: Fahim Karamat
 

Week 2 Rumours

Matchweek One is in the books, and we already have some juicy storylines heading into MW2. Who look like contenders and who look like pretenders? Who has the makings of a champion and who is already looking ahead to a new draft strategy for next year? Let’s kick off with this week’s rumours.

Another Transaction of Note: Samarra FC's Faraz Siraj withdraws from the League due to injury, and Samarra will be replacing him with Khizer Shahzad.  BSL wishes Faraz a safe and speedy recovery and hopes to see him back next year, iA. 


Samarra FC vs, Jerusalem FC (8:45PM on Field 3)

Samarra FC
Samarra FC had a tough start to the season, incurring a heavy loss and forfeiting most of the possession in their first match. They were able to salvage 3 goals and capitalize on miscues, but overall didn’t look threatening going forward. In fact, the only other thing that was going for them was the great colour combination of their jersey kit that made players across the league second think a transfer to the side. Newcomer Danish Khan has shown glimpses of his undeniable talent and it’s clear to see he will be the heart and soul of the Samarian midfield and transitional play. Numair Bari and Umair Jabbar were on the scoresheet and it’s great to see your forwards score, but as the best players on the team, they may have to convert positions in order to balance the weaknesses in the squad’s defense. Defense has been a strength for the club, and they are no strangers to protecting their goal – they had the least goals against last season and made the playoffs as a result. The judgment on what the club philosophy is falls upon GM Umer Jabbar. Will the team play 3 behind half and counter or push forward to create chances on their own? Regardless, we expect to see a change and see Samarra rise once again. A great test befalls them as they line up against Jerusalem this weekend.

Jerusalem FC
Jerusalem FC started the season off by defeating their rivals Hejaz FC in the “BSL Derby”, who have had their number for the most part in the past. GM Zahid Merchant managed to hold on to a clean sheet till the dying seconds of the match, but Muhammad Shah stained it with a decisive consolation goal. Zahid brought back the Jerusalem core, but the additions to his squad are really the ones paying dividends. Mohammad Variava has become a leader in the team after just saying his hellos and has had a prominent effect on the backline and overall team shape on the pitch. The goals also came from the additions of Umair Wasim and Furhan Azmat, who have fit in with the team seamlessly as if they’ve been here for years. With Saqib Dadabhoy on D and Omar Shiekh in the midfield, we can only conclude that the baby blues look like the most balanced and consistent team in the league. Zahid will be missing a couple weeks for Umrah and will look to Umair to take on his duties, but with the new striker stirring up a pair of goals this week, the team may have a change in heart. Jerusalem take on Samarra this week, a squad that gave them fits in this fixture last year


Anatolia FC vs. Sham FC (8:45PM on Field 4)

Anatolia FC
Anatolia FC, once again, start the season with all 3 points and a flurry of goals to take the league by storm. As expected, Anatolia's offensive output is their greatest strength and teams already know it will be difficult to prevent them from scoring. However, the best defense against this team is to score more than them. The team conceded 3 goals despite having a heavy majority of the possession. The offensive options are plenty at the club and it could be a challenge to select the correct players in a balanced formation. Zain Khilji and Nehad Shihab are branded goal scorers combining for all 6 goals in the previous match while Riaz Murad has the knack of sneaking a few of his own with unexpected (due to his size and width) support play. Speaking of support, Taqi Ahmed and Kamil Lotia have proved they have the ability to provide an excess of opportunities for their scorers and just thinking about it, the goal tally for this team could get out of hand. The team will hope to welcome Shoaib Gaya after his absence last week to solidify the back line and take leadership at the back to mop up mishaps and strengthen their intensity. Goalkeeper Umair Shiekh could turn out to be an unsung hero at the club from what we saw last weekend, but he's one to feel the defense should do better to make him look better... Anatolia will push for even more goals against a struggling Sham side, but more importantly, will look to protect their goal with more resilience in their back line.

Sham FC
Sham FC will try again to find any sort of rhythm to get them back to their old goal scoring ways. The team was held scoreless by a pestering Andalusian side, but there is a consensus that the team was not able to create opportunities going forward. It seems the team hasn't jelled as quickly as they wanted to, which is always a part of rebuilding a team. With the likes of Zeem Khan and Athar Siddiqui, the side definitely has goals in them, but it's a matter of whether the midfield can give them the ball at the right times. Human wall Yasser Zia will be welcomed to the new season this week and even though he is not involved in the offense, his presence and leadership has an effect on their performance. The club supporters will demand a positive response this weekend after rumoured bad fitness practices at the club. A BSL reporter had attended a Sham practice midweek and claims the superstars did not attend, and those who did were too tired to play at game pace after just 15 minutes. Among them was Omair Zuberi, who took too many water breaks. Sham won't have time to breathe against the explosive Anatolians, as the only way to win is the keep pace with your opponents.


Andalusia FC vs. Hejaz FC (9:45PM on Field 3)

Andalusia FC
Andalusia FC (now known as Anda-liers FC amongst the league’s gaffers) emerged victorious in their opening match and the change in management seems to have much to do with it. Members of the League board have made a strong case accusing incoming players of providing wrongful and misleading information which may cost the club thousands in fines. These players rated themselves as 1 out of 5 on every category of their self-evaluation sheets, and are performing well beyond those capacities. Andalusia has never won on opening day fixture and has only registered 2 wins in each of the previous 2 seasons. We wonder if this was the cause for immoral behaviors within the club. Certainly, the corruption started with new management, Hassan Chaudhry in particular, as he brought his brother and friends to club for little cost. Andalusia has already registered a quarter of the number of wins in club history in just one game. We expect them to break all club records this season. GM Junaid Mirza was very pleased with his team being able to score goals without conceding and of course making him look good as the only goalie with a clean sheet thus far. The new guys, Ali Chaudhry, Hassan Chaudhary, and Zain Khan certainly have what it takes to compete for top spot and by bringing their own chemistry, they could put their team above their opponents. Their talent will be put to test again this week against reigning back-to-back champs Hejaz FC.

Hejaz FC
After a seventeen game undefeated streak dating back to early 2015 and featured two champions, Hejaz FC finally tasted defeat at the hands of their rivals JFC. It's definitely a slow start by Hejaz standards and it's expected the club will take the loss seriously. The championship squad was broken with the departure of the Masood brothers and a couple of key player suiting up for the opposition, but GM Ibrahim Sardar remains confident in the team’s chance of capturing a three peat. Although they are still capable, it won't come as easy as the previous two. Superstar Muhammad Shah must take on a greater burden offensively as the squad's capacity to go forward has diminished. With his partner in crime A K manning the midfield, Shah may have to take on a more forward role and rely on others to support the D in mid. Goalkeeper Faheem Kotwal is a former superstar in the league, but has been safeguarding his knee and talents on the goal line to avoid re-injury. He can be the answer Hejaz and Sardar are looking for, but will we see him combine in the midfield this season? Ibrahim is also playing out of position to make room for Faheem and will take some getting used to on defense. The lily whites perhaps need more time to jell and discover their tendencies to return to their winning ways. Andalusia is the next to stand in front of them – a fixture that by no means is as easy as it has been in the past.


Week 2 kicks off at 8:45pm on Sunday.
 

Week 1 Recap

Week 1 of season 3 is officially in the books and some teams are already drawing attention around the league. All three games were lopsided affairs with the winning sides dominating throughout the match. Here are the results: 

Game 1: Anatolia FC - 6   |   Samarra FC - 3
 
Anatolia FC started off their season with a vengeance with a lopsided 6-3 win over Samarra FC. Zain Khilji broke a BISL record with 5 goals on the game and ruining Samarra keeper Taha Iqbal's debut. Zain got his first with 10 mins into the match on a defensive giveaway and then added his second a few minutes later to go up 2-0. Samarra would strike back with a Numair Bari blast that beat keeper Umair Sheikh. Anatolia would score 2 mins into the second half on a Khilji goal on a feed by Kamil Lotia. Khilji would complete his hat-trick a minute later on a feed by Nehad Shihab while Nehad would score his own a few minute later to give Anatolia a quick 5-1 lead. Numair Bari would score a second and Umair Jabbar would one but the Samarra defence gave the match away with a flurry of second half miscues. As expected, Anatolia's offence is a powerhouse and will score a ton of goals. Samarra will be looking to change up their defensive rotations after a horrid 5 minute spell in the second half. 

Man of the Match: Zain Khilji



Game 2: Sham FC - 0   |   Andalusia FC - 3

In a matchup of two new GMs, Junaid Mirza and Usman Aslam have been yapping all week about their encounter. This time, Andalusia got the better of them with a 3-nil victory. Early in the first half, Sham gave the ball away in front of their net with Shaharyar Khan bouncing on the miscue to put his side up 1-0. Andalusia seemed to dominate all the scoring opportunities and fill in keeper Abdul Ahad Ahmadzai kept his team in the match. In the second half, Andalusia won a free kick in front of the Sham goal and Zain Khan set up Ali Chaudhry for a header to take a 2-0 lead. A few minutes later, Ali Chaudhry would find his second on a set up from Hassan Chaudhary to give blue a comfortable lead. Sham struggled to string together passes to get quality scoring chances. Sham will need to change up their offensive strategy. Andalusia starts off their season on a winning note and will hoping they can continue this form against Hejaz next week. 

Man of the Match: Zain Khan 
- POTG Video 
 
 
Game 3: Jerusalem FC - 3   |   Hejaz FC - 1
 
In the final matchup of the night, we had a rematch of last year's finals. Both teams looked poised to start off their campaign. In the early going, it was all Jerusalem with them ringing the posts twice in the first few minutes. Midway through the first half, Omar Sheikh intercepted a pass and found Umair Wasim on the counter to open the scoring. Hejaz struggled to get behind the Jerusalem defence and played the long ball. To open the second half, Umair Wasim intercepted an errand pass by Hejaz keeper Faheem Kotwal to score his second of the match. With 5 minutes remaining, Omair Sheikh fed Furhan Azmat a through ball that Furhan somehow blast shortside to get his first of the season. Hejaz would find a goal in the final minute on a defensive lapse that found Muhammad Shah open in front of the net which he deposited to break the JFC clean sheet. Jerusalem looked solid all round while Hejaz looked like they were still learning to play with each other. We expect Hejaz to be much better after 8 new guys played together. Jerusalem move on to play Samarra next week. 

Man of the Match: Umair Wasim - POTG Video 


Week 1 Rumours

 

As we approach the beginning of Season 3, there is plenty of excitement and lots of questions to be answered about each team. With over 20 new players spread out across all 6 teams in the league, there will be plenty of faces trying to make an impression. Each week throughout the season, we will be posting news and rumours from around the league so be sure to check back here regularly to find out what's up in BISL.

One transaction to announce from the first week: Salim Jaichi, 4th round pick of Hejaz FC withdraws due to injury. Hejaz FC chose Asif Ibn Rehana as a replacement player.


Anatolia FC vs. Samarra FC (8:45PM on Field 3)

Anatolia FC
The yellow fellows are back after shockingly missing out on the playoffs last year. Incase you forgot, Anatolia had the second most goals last year and led in almost every offensive category but couldn't defend their own goal. GM Zain Khilji looked to correct that this year but rather chose another offensive juggernaut in Taqi Ahmed with his first pick. Anatolia will be playing a fast paced game with Kamil Lotia playing the wing along with superstar Nehad Shihab. The Anatolia defence will be anchored by Hasan Afzal and Shoaib Gaya, a duo that will not incite fear in opposing forwards eyes. Anatolia chose unseen prospects Hassan Zubair, Muhammad Salman and Umair Sheikh to fill out the rest of their squad. Anatolia will be hoping Umair 'gold glove' Sheikh can be a huge upgrade in net this year after they have allowed the most goals in the last two seasons combined. Riaz 'energizer bunny' Murad takes his talents to his third team in three years. His hustle and passion should be welcomed by this young group. Anatolia have the youngest team in the league and should have no shortage of speed upfront to pester opposing defences. However, their lack of experience has always prevented them from making the leap into the final two. Expect the canaries to play a lot of counter-attack soccer and take advantage of their fantastic midfield to take over the game. However, the counter attack cannot start unless you dispossess the ball. The key to Anatolia's success this year will be their D core of Shoaib and Hasan who will have to help start the break for their midfielders.

Samarra FC
The men in black chose to rebuild their team from scatch and chose youth over experience. GM Umer Jabbar screened each player for certain traits that compliment a high synergy style of play focusing on intangibles and chemistry. Samarra chose to solidify their midfield and net first by picking up unseen prospect Danish Khan. Danish comes with plenty of soccer experience but we will see if that translate to BISL success. Next Taha Iqbal was chosen as the successor to now promoted forwad Umair Jabbar. Umair has lost 20 pounds on his 'absolutely no-hakka' diet and will attempt to find his childhood goal scoring days. Numair Bari comes back to Samarra after a fantastic 2015/16 rookie campaign. Samarra chose veteran Arshad Chawdhry to anchor their defence along with GM Umer Jabbar. The rest of the Samarra team are young guns that should provide them some pace upfront. Teenagers Faraz Siraj and Mueed Tanveer will play up and Samarra will be hoping they can find chemistry together. Newcomer Mohsin Zubair and veteran workhorse Omar Shakil round out the rest of the Samarra squad. Samarra have a rare mix of youth and experience which should be interesting to watch. Samarra have a lot of unknowns on their roster with four new players. The one glaring weakness is a proven goal scorer. After only scoring 10 goals all last season, a lot of pressure will be on Umair Jabbar and their teenagers to score regularly for their side. Everyone including Samarra will learn a lot about themselves this Sunday.


Sham FC vs. Andalusia FC (8:45PM on Field 4)

Sham FC
Sham FC snuck into the playoffs last season but crashed out in the semi-finals. Assistant GM Usman Aslam was promoted to GM and president of soccer operations with hopes of guiding his team to the top. Usman cemented his core by bringing back young phenom Ahmad Alvi and superstar goalkeeper Yasser Zia. The orangemen picked up defender of the year Sheraz Choudhry and Forward Zeem Khan early in the draft. Usman had a plan going into the draft and stuck to it by picking up proven players. Sham brought back Adeel Ansari and former GM Omair Zuberi to keep their team chemistry from last year. Sham also picked up former Andalusia midfielder Mohammed Mahmood and his brother-in-law Abdul Ahad Ahmadzai. Mohammed has lots of skill but struggled to get results on his former squad. He will be hoping change in management will help him break out this year. Abdul Ahad was listed as a keeper but there is no way he takes that job away from the league's best in Zia. Ahmadzai will have to settle for a role as a defender. Sham picked up striker Athar Siddiqui that struggled with injury last season and wil be hoping he has fully recovered. Sham FC have an impressive side with some of the leagues best midfielders in Alvi, Zeem and Mahmood. Their other strength is having Yasser Zia between the sticks. However, their defense and forwards have a lot to prove this year. While Sheraz Choudhry was the best defender last year, he will now have responsibility of managing the defense at the back. With newcomer Ahmadzai and Zuberi as his partners, Sheraz will carry a heavy workload. Sham will be hoping strikers Usman Aslam and Athar Siddiqui can find their scoring touch from year one. They scored a combined 15 goals that year and they will need just as many if this team is going to be contenders. They take on a revamped Andalusia team in week one and will be hoping to get their season off on the right foot.

Andalusia FC
After two disappointing seasons, Andalusia ownership ousted GM Farhan Karamat but somehow convinced him to sponsor the team instead. GM responsibilities were handed off to Junaid Mirza with hopes of reaching the playoffs for the first time. In a surprise move, Andalusia decided to chose Hassan Chaudhry as an assistant GM along with Shaharyar Khan. Junaid might be hoping Hassan can bring some trade secrets from his successful run in softbal this year. Andalusia picked up Imad Siraj with their first pick and then proceeded to pick up all of Hassan's buddies. Ali Chaudhry, Hassan Chaudhary, and Zain Khan begin their rookie campaign with the Spaniards this year. No one knew much about this trio so Andalusia management are hoping they have found a 'Messi, Neymar, Suarez' trio. We speculate that Andalusia's sponsorship agreement had a clause built in to resign the Karamat brothers, Fahim and Farhan. Both are consistent players and should be much better suited in their complimentary roles. The round out their squad, Andalusia selected Ayaz Sethi. This entire team lives in the Churchill Meadows area and have their training ground on Eglinton/9th line. Andalusia looks like they may have solved their goal scoring problems with the addition of Imad but who plays defence on this team? Hassan Chaudhry will lead the backline but who else will help him back there. Losing one year wonder Hassan Syed to an injury that prevented him from signing up left a gaping hole in the team's plan. Rumour has the Karamat brothers being converted into defenders to shore up the backline. The Spaniards have already suffered some key injuries on the practice ground just like they did last year. It will be interested to see the new Andalusia squad this Sunday as they look to reverse their fortunes. Team management is keeping details about their players and their practices on the down-low with hopes of surprising the competition.


Jerusalem FC vs. Hejaz FC (9:45PM on Field 3)

Jerusalem FC
Jerusalem FC finally changed up their team after falling short for the second time in two years. GM Zahid Merchant kept core intact but opted to fill out the rest of the roster with new faces. Omar Sheikh and Shaheen Limbada will help lead the squad and provide most of the offense while Saqib Dadabhoy will be the anchor for the defence. JFC took plenty of risks during the draft, one of them a top two pick on Mohammad Variava. The bloke from Leeds joins the league relatively unknown but will be asked to partner with Saqib on defence. Two other rookies joining JFC will be Atif Mian and Umair Wasim. Both claim they have some soccer experience and will be asked to play pivotal roles in the midfield for the men in blue. Jerusalem chose to bring family together with the additions of Raza Ali (related to Zahid) and Hashim Ghazi (related to Shaheen). Both beat JFC in the finals last year and team management will be hoping they can bring that championship experience to the club. Furhan Azmat 'the most interesting man of BSL' brings his talents to Jerusalem this season. Furhan played a key defensive role on his former club and will now be asked to bring that same intensity to JFC. Furhan will also bring his large fan following with him which should make Jerusalem games the hottest ticket in town. We expect GM Zahid Merchant to put on the keeper gloves again this season. This year's club looks to have plenty of offensive firepower with Omar, Shaheen, and Raza upfront. Their success will depend on how well they can defend and intregrate the new pieces. They will be tested from the onset as they face their arch-nemesis Hejaz who defeated them in both league finals.

Hejaz FC
The league champs come off an impressive two year run where they have dominated the competition. The trio of Ibrahim Sardar, Muhammad Shah and A K have only lost one game in two years together. Last year they gambled by picking only newcomers to the league and it results in an undefeated season. GM Ibrahim Sardar took the same gamble this year, picking 6 players new to the league. In a shocking first pick, they selected Faheem Kotwal who is coming off a devastating knee injury and is still only retricted to goalkeeper until the new year. That means Ibrahim Sardar will have to tighten his boots to play out for the timebeing. To play forward, Los Blancos picked Tayseer Bharucha and Omar Kayal who both played together in the past. They will have one of the best midfielders in Muhammad Shah feeding them so they both will be expected to finish. Shah will have rookie Farhan Ahmad joining him in the midfield who comes with experience from other leagues. Unfortunately for Hejaz, Salim Jaichi has been put on injured reserves due to a nagging injury. Hejaz selected defender Asif ibn Rehana to replace Salim for the upcoming season. Asif will be matched up with new addition Omar Adil at the back. Omar comes from his previous club with high praise and is expected to be an impact player at the back. Syed G Hussain makes his return to BISL after only playing one match last year due to injury. Hejaz is hoping they are able to find success again this year with their new recruits. A lot remains to be seen whether they can follow in the footsteps of last years team. On paper, this team looks like it lacks scoring atleast until Faheem Kotwal is cleared to play forward. But any team built around Shah, Sardar and A K mustn't be underestimated - these guys remain the team to beat until another competitive proves otherwise.


Season starts in only a few days. Let's Kick-off!

 


2016-17 Brotherhood Indoor Soccer League Draft Results

The 2016/17 BISL draft was held Sunday morning and there were some surprise picks throughout the draft. Here are the teams for this season (in alphabetical order) however sources reveal there are some trades in the works.