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2016 BISL Awards

Congratulations to our 2016 BISL Award winners: 
Check out their profile page to see their awards

Most Improved Player: Zahid Merchant - Jerusalem FC

Best Goalkeeper: Umair Jabbar - Samarra FC

Best Defender:  Sheraz Choudhry -  Hejaz FC

Best Midfielder:  Zain Khilji -  Anatolia FC

Golden Boot: Humeid Masood - Hejaz FC

Brotherhood Award: Hassan Syed - Andalusia FC

Playoff MVP: A K - Hejaz FC 

Congratulatuons to Hejaz FC for winning $1000 for their charity - Smile
Thank you again to all our sponsors for supporting us this year. 

Congratulations to Hejaz FC 2015-16 Champions

After a remarkable undefeated season, Hejaz FC won a close 2-1 final over Jerusalem FC. Raza Ali opened the scoring the first half off a free kick and Sameer Masood added the insurance goal midway through the second half. Jerusalem finally found themselves late in the game with a goal from Omar Sheikh. Jerusalem pressed hard for the equalizer but were unable to find the breakthrough. Hejaz FC repeat as champions in 2016. 

All-Star Game Recap:
After many All-stars were no shows, the rest of the All-stars played a pick up game of the "Shahs" versus the "Sheikhs" with Muhammad Shah and Omar Sheikh picking teams. The match started off with the Sheikh's taking a commanding 7-1 lead with a flurry of goals from Shaharyar Khan and Zain Khilji. The game was turning comical with the score at 9-3 in a game up till 10. The Shah's turned things around with a quick team huddle and rallied the troops to pull off a remarkable 10-9 victory with multiple goals from Ahmad Alvi and Sameer Masood. The unprecedented collapse could only be attributed to the Shah's goalkeeper outplaying the Sheikh's goalkeeper. 


As we conclude season 2, we have a rematch of the 2015 finals with Jerusalem FC taking on Hejaz FC. Both teams have been dominant throughout the season and they will add another saga to their storied rivalry. We give you a preview of the big game in the final installment of rumours. 
      Versus               for the BISL Cup.       


The two BISL super clubs had very tight fixtures this season with 1-0 and 4-4 affairs in favour of Hejaz as both matches presented very contrasting styles of play. In the first game of the season, Hejaz snuck one early and shut down traffic for the night while the second game brought a far more offensive game where both teams countered from box to box. The Hejaz stronghold contains two of the league’s top goal scorers in Humied Masood and Muhammad Shah coupled by Sameer Masood and A K who have tons of experience damaging the score line. Jerusalem has a lot of offensive potential and have the talent to change their style of play during a game. Power strikers Zeem Khan and Shaheen Limbada are complimented by the swift Taqi Ahmed and the stern Omar Sheikh. Hejaz FC doesn’t seem to have trouble finding goals having scored 11 in their last 2 games and statistically arming the heaviest artillery on the pitch this season. Jerusalem has been begun to find a rhythm again and once again have shown the capabilities to win any match.  Nonetheless, both teams have their respective arsenal of goal scorers, but strategy will be the differentiating factor.      

Advantage: Hejaz FC


It doesn’t come as a surprise that the two finalists have allowed the least amount of goals all season. Jerusalem led the league in clean sheets over the course of the season and has developed a very vigorous backline consisting of Saqib Dadaboy, Sohali Mohiuddin and the resilient Rizvan Merchant. Hejaz plays with a mentality that says “the best defensive is offense” but continue to protect the goal through indistinct recoveries, tracking back and great marking from the defensive unit of Sheraz Choudhry, Saif Syed, and Hashim Ghazi.  Although the defensive units match up evenly in terms of talent, the Jerusalem backline consists of a more ‘stay at home’ mentality versus a Hejaz dispossess and distribute role. Jerusalem takes this one by a margin as the blues have been working on their defenses all season while the white knights look for more ways to tweak their offense.              

Advantage: Jerusalem FC


Zahid Merchant and Ibrahim Sardar have both been brilliant for their sides and share a similar style of manning the pipes using their angles and quick reflexes to make difficult saves. However, Hejaz will be without their captain and goalkeeper for the finals as he travels for Umrah. Hejaz has been planning for this with Saif Syed and Sameer Masood taking turns in net. It still remains to be seen who will stand between the pipes for Hejaz. With the Jerusalem Captain controlling his troops from the back, experience and continuity favours Jerusalem in this area.     

Jerusalem FC


Hejaz are on a remarkable run of 11 undefeated games and will be looking to seal the perfect season this Sunday. Jerusalem will feel they have their number after two very close games and a heartbreaker in last season’s finals. Hejaz have found ways to win in difficult circumstances so they have the mental edge over their rivals.

 Hejaz FC  


Both teams matchup fairly even overall but there is something about Hejaz and their phenomenal recent form that could affect the outcome.  Jerusalem played a great semifinal but had trouble converting some very promising chances that fell to them.  However, the club proved that they are the most efficient team in possession while going forward. Hejaz lacked some creativity in their last game but in the end fought through using bursts of skill and force. Hejaz must create more chances and Jerusalem must finish theirs.  Anything short will result in the agony of seeing their opponent lift the cup.  It should be a thrilling final and the fans will definitely get their money’s worth this Sunday. 

Semi-Finals Recap

Samarra FC     1     |     3      Hejaz FC

In a match of two different styles, undefeated Hejaz continued their storied run with a 3-1 victory over Samarra FC. The match started off with a stalemate with neither team generating quality scoring chances but that changed in a hurry. Raza Ali found the ball down the right wing and cut it back along the backline to fire it past the Samarra keeper to open the scoring. Samarra would fire right back with Numair Bari beating three men to poke it past the keeper to tie the score. Both teams went into the half eager to take control of the match. Samarra continued their long ball strategy but struggled to string together key passes. Hejaz continued their counter attack and got a deflected pass that landed to Sameer Masood who made a run and made no mistake to bury it for the go-ahead goal. Samarra had a brilliant opportunity to tie it with cross that almost landed at Shoaib Gaya's feet but keeper Ibrahim Sardar was there to save the day. Just before the final whistle, Muhammad Shah blasted the insurance goal to finish off Samarra 3-1. A valiant effort from the red-blacks but they fell just short. Hejaz continue their storied run into the finals where they await a familiar foe. 
Man of the Match: Sameer Masood  
Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iS-kG_5ZneY 

Sham FC     1      |     3   Jerusalem FC

In the second semi-final, Sham and Jerusalem squared off for the rights to play Hejaz in the finale. Jerusalem dominated the possession and chances early on but failed to find the target while keeper Yasser Zia did his best to give his orangemen a chance. However, midway through the first half Taqi Ahmed fed Zeem Khan for a pretty goal to open the scoring. Sham like Samarra were playing long ball and found a couple chances on errand passes by Jerusalem that Adeel Ansari missed putting on net. Going into the second half, Sham needed an equalizer and started to feel the pressure but Jerusalem found them on the counter and Omar Sheikh added to the lead at 2-0. Sham kept getting opportunities to break out but couldn't complete the final pass to get a quality shot. Omar Sheikh added a second on a nice set up by Saqib Dadabhoy but Sham found life late with a goal by Aazar Zafar on a deflected shot by Adeel Ansari. However, it was too little too late as Jerusalem booked their place in the finals for a second consecutive year where they face their rivals Hejaz FC. 

Men of the Match: Zeem Khan & Omar Sheikh
Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZwGyPqzWI0 

We are down to the final two in a rematch of last season's final. Both teams finished at the top of the table so it is only fitting that they meet in the finals. Highlights of the Semi-final games will be posted later in the week. 

2016 BISL Semifinals

And then there were four. After an eventful final weekend of the regular season featuring last minute goals, aggressive attacking displays and at least one surprising result, we bid adieu to Andalusia and Anatolia and head into the post-season. One weekend, two matchups, and a date in the finals on the line. In one matchup, we have a high-octane offense that was destined for a superb campaign facing off against a staunch defense that protects their net like a brick wall. In the other, we have two teams that had very different beginnings of the season compared to where they are right now, but possess the confidence and ability to get a win if they’re on their game. Let’s get into what the semi finals have in store.

Semifinal #1: Samarra FC vs. Hejaz FC – 9:00PM on Field 2
With top of the table already locked up, it appeared that Hejaz had one thing stopping them from BISL history and finishing the season undefeated – a date with the playoff-desperate Anatolians. However, if you ask the team, they would say they didn’t really care about finishing undefeated, but rather wanted to win the game against the Turks to stay sharp for the post-season, especially with the possibility of facing off against that very team in the semis. With the Canaries putting everyone in the offensive half to get a much needed win last week, the Hejazis took advantage and got some quick goals to go up big before the break. They never looked back and after the draw in the other match, they knew the Yellow Submarine would NOT be a team they’d face again this season. Meanwhile, Samarra needed a point (coupled with an Anatolia loss) or a win to clinch a post-season berth. A team with a nefarious tendency to make it seem like they didn’t want to score, the red-blacks had their work cut out for them. And, like every week, they were short. It was a task that seemed insurmountable but not impossible, and that was enough to motivate them to come out full force and get the opening goal. The eventual draw with Sham sealed their fate as the fourth place team and a date in the semis. A lot of people thought Samarra could not pull it off, but they showed grit and the ability to get a result when they needed it.

That brings us to now – the best offense in the league against the best defence. Hejaz will have a lot of the ball and will rely on movement and clinical finishing to play to their strengths, whereas Samarra will do all they can to keep their fortress and not give their opposition big chances. On the other hand, Samarra will look to capitalize on any mistakes made by the Hejaz defense, looking to heavily counter when the opportunity arises. Hejaz won both regular season matchups, but by a slim margin on the score sheet. In the first meeting of the squads, Hejaz pulled out a 3-1 victory while outshooting their opponents 23-7. In their last meeting, Hejaz got two goals from Raza Ali for a close 3-2 victory. Samarra has been the closest team to matching with Hejaz and may know a secret formula to slowing down their offence, although Raza has 3 goals in two games against the red-blacks. Samarra FC will need a full squad if they will have any chance of keeping composure for a full 50 mins. Samarra has struggled offensively all season but an opportune bounce might be all they need to pull off the upset. There is plenty of family affair between the sides as brother-in-laws Shoaib Gaya-Muhammad Shah and Umer Jabbar-Ibrahim Sardar will face each other. This matchup features a lot of excitement as the unstoppable force meets the immovable object. Two contrasting styles but with one thing on the line – a trip to the finals.

Semifinal #2: Sham FC vs. Jerusalem FC – 10:00PM on Field 2
Like Hejaz, Jerusalem had nothing but pride to play for in the final week. They were locked in second place and as the late game feature in the final week of the season, would know who they’d be facing in the semis before they even kicked off their match. You could say it was a friendly and a tune-up before they played meaningful games again, but it still led to some frustration. Jerusalem faltered to the Andalusians 3-2, and ended the season how they started it – with a one goal loss. However, they could not be happier with the outcome of the previous matches on the day, as they were paired with the team they probably best match-up with in the semis. Sham were basically a lock for the post-season, and would only miss out with a loss to Samarra coupled with an Anatolia win on the other pitch against the league leaders. With Anatolia down big, Sham knew with a lot of time to go in their match that they were in no matter what. However, they didn’t stop the Tangerines from giving their all and getting a last minute equalizer in the Samarran matchup and clinch third place. A courageous performance like that that can build a lot of belief in a side, despite being viewed as the underdog. That extra pep in their step and confidence shows they can make something out of nothing and give anyone a run for their money on a given day.

However, Sham face a very uphill task, as Jerusalem have been by-and-far the better of their sides in their regular season matchups. Jerusalem got their first win of the season against Sham in week three with a 2-0 victory which turned around their season. Jerusalem shut out Sham again in week 8 with probably the most complete performance of any side in BISL this year with a 6-0 drubbing of Sham. In 100 minutes, Sham hasn’t scored a goal against Jerusalem. You would think Jerusalem would be licking their chops when seeing those Orange jerseys line up against them this Sunday. With that being said, with JFC’s blip last week, it shows they are beatable when things are not going their way, and will need to not downplay their opponent and stay focused on putting in a good shift. Sham can score goals, it’s not due to a lack of talent in their side. The Orangemen will need to come up with a strategy to create opportunities and open shots on the Jerusalem net. The burden will fall on Aazar Zafar and Ahmad Alvi to be the playmakers and game changers this Sunday.  The orange wall at the back, Yasser Zia, will be called upon often this Sunday and we expect he will be ready for the challenge against his former squad. Sham FC was built for defense coming out of the draft and will need their best defensive performance this Sunday. With all that said, the regular season will mean nothing when both teams step on the pitch as it all comes down to a 50 minute matchup– it’s anybody’s game. The contest will be free-flowing that promises a lot of pressing, high-intensity and goalkeeping heroics. It has all the makings of an enticing affair.

There we have it. We’re at the penultimate weekend of the season featuring the top four sides and the chance of history. Will we have a rematch of last year’s finals? Will we have a final featuring neither of last year’s teams? It could go any way, but come 11PM on Sunday, one thing we will know for sure is that there will be only two left. Getcha popcorn ready.

Week 10 Recap

Anatolia FC     4     |     8      Hejaz FC

With Anatolia playing for their season, they got off on the right foot. Osman Buttar took it upon himself to save the ball on the inline and score off his own rebound to give Anatolia FC an early 1-0 lead. For a moment, it looked like Anatolia might be able to do the unthinkable but Hejaz eventually woke up. Muhammad Shah entered the pitch and score two consecutive goals to give Hejaz the lead. Humeid Masood would have a brilliant game with 3 goals and 2 assists to blow the game wide open with a 6-3 lead going into the half. Anatolia had one eye on the other pitch and were struggling to hold their defensive line. They would try to get back into the match with an early second half goal to cut the lead to 6-4 but Hejaz kept the pressure on with Ibrahim Sardar putting in two goals to give Hejaz the comfortable win. Anatolia finish off the season with a collapse at the end. A team that had all the firepower but lacked defensive awareness to keep themselves in games. They miss out on the playoffs for the first time and will have all summer to watch Simpsons re-runs and wonder what went wrong. Hejaz on the other hand look invinsible going into the playoffs. 
Man of the Match: Ibrahim Sardar  - Video

Samarra FC     1      |     1   Sham FC

In the biggest match of the season, both sides were playing for their playoff lives and the intensity was on full display. In the beginning, both teams played tentative and defensive to ensure they protect their own goal. There were limited chances but that all changed when Numair Bari score off an Imad Siraj pass to open the scoring. Samarra were now on top and needed to atleast secure a draw to advance with Anatolia losing on the other pitch. Both teams traded chances and missed on great opportunities to seize the match. Sham started off the second half pressuring for the equalizer, sending midfielders forward to add to the counterattack. Late in the match, Adeel Ansari was finally able to score off an Ayaz Sethi pass to rescue Sham's season. Sham and Samarra eventually ended in a draw which has both teams moving on to the Semi-finals. Samarra will play Hejaz in a rematch of last years semi-finals while Sham will make their playoff debut against Jerusalem next Sunday. 

Men of the Match: Adeel Ansari & Numair Bari

Andalusia FC     3    |     2     Jerusalem FC

With all the playoff seedings settled, this was a personal score that needed to be settle. Andalusia wanted to get back for a heartbreaker they lost earlier in the season and they did just that. Andalusia would open the scoring on a save that rebounded to Hassan Syed which he forced into the net. Jerusalem found a quick equalizer with Zeem Khan being set up perfectly by Saqib Dadabhoy for the equalizer. Right before the half, Jerusalem turned it over right infront of the net and Farhan Karamat put in a perfectly placed shot to give Andalusia the lead going into the half. Jerusalem would respond right away with Omar Sheikh blasting one from the right side to level the score. The match traded opportunities but both goalkeepers were making saves to keep the match balanced. With just over a minute left, a blocked clearing attempted landed infront of Farhan Karamat who calmly blasted it into the net for the winner. Andalusia finish off the season on a high, winning their last two matches and look forward to continuing that run next season. Jerusalem suffer an unlikely loss and will be kicking themselves on the many great chances they squandered including four posts. They will have to pick themselves up quickly as they face Sham next Sunday in a do or die match in the semis. 
Man of the Match: Farhan Karamat - Video

Week 10 Rumours

We have reached the finish line. With two playoff spots up for grabs between three teams, we will find out who will be playing soccer next Sunday and who will be watching Simpsons re-runs. With one goal separating 6 players from the golden boot, there will be plenty of action this Sunday as we wind down the regular season. 

Anatolia FC vs. Hejaz FC – 9:00PM on Field 3
It is interesting how a team with the most potential faces off against the undisputed leaders of the league in the final week of the season, with Anatolia needing a victory to lock up a playoff spot. This game features league leader in goals Osman Buttar and three Hejaz players sitting one goal behind him for top spot. The Canaries proved they can hang with the leaders when they were up 3-1 against Hejaz at the half in the first meeting, only to lose 5-4. Anatolia owns the goal-differential tie breaker over both Samarra and Sham, so a draw would see them through to the second season irrespective of other results. However, they have 1 win in their last 6 matches and aren’t riding the wave of good form. They have shown they can score in bunches though, which will keep any goalkeeper sleepless at night. Zain Khilji also has his eye on the individual points table. He has led the league in points since the first week of the season, but it is in jeopardy with two players on his tale. Hejaz on the other hand play another meaningless game but after their performance last week, no one expects them to fall over against a potential first round opponent. The league leaders will be looking to keep their unbeaten run going and let Anatolia know what to expect if they match up in the semi-finals.  Now is the time for Anatolia to piece everything together and show they deserve to be in the playoffs.

Samarra FC vs. Sham FC – 9:00PM on Field 4
We couldn’t have scripted it any better. One game, one team moves on while the other goes home. Samarra FC have been devastated by injuries and random absences, but they have a chance to put that all behind them. The Redblacks can guarantee a playoff spot with a victory over Sham this Sunday. A draw between the teams will mean Samarra will be hoping for an Anatolia loss to get in by the skin of their teeth. They will need all hands on deck to pull out the much needed points. Sham on the other hand are one point up so a draw guarantees them a spot in the semi-finals. The Orangemen have suffered an offensive drought recently and will be looking to open the flood gates this Sunday - or will they sit back and play for the draw? If Anatolia lose, Sham are already through but both games kickoff at the same time so no one will have the advantage of knowing the other scores. The last time these two squads met, they had the lowest scoring game in BISL history, a 0-0 draw. Everything is on the line for both sides. Who will emerge as the hero this Sunday?

Andalusia FC vs. Jerusalem FC – 10:00PM on Field 3
After all the hype of the first two games, the final game of the night has no strings attached. Jerusalem have already locked up the second seed for the playoffs and Andalusia are the only team eliminated from heading into Sunday. There is plenty of pride on the line though. Shaharyar Khan reminded everyone in his player of the game interview that they are looking forward to playing Jerusalem after Andalusia lost a heartbreaker to the Sky Blues on two last minute goals to snatch victory from the Spaniards. Andalusia are hoping to end the season on a high that will carry over to next season. The squad finally has everyone back and showed they can defend by posting a clean sheet in the last fixture. They will need every bit of defence to keep Jerusalem off the board. Jerusalem have scored 16 goals in their last 4 games and are hitting full stride at the right time. JFC will be watching the earlier games with the hope of scouting their semi-final opponents, but will need to be focused against the Spaniards if they want to keep their edge. Taqi Ahmed sits one point behind top spot for most points and is tied for most goals in the league. He will be looking to take leap into first place this Sunday. The semi-final match ups will be set prior to the final match, but these two squads have a score to settle – we expect an exorbitant display with plenty of action.

The playoff seedings will be decided this Sunday and Semi-finals games will be played next Sunday. See you on the pitch. 

Week 9 Recap

Samarra FC     0     |     2      Andalusia FC

In a tight fixture, Andalusia FC got the monkey off their back with a full 50 minute performance versus Samarra FC. Andalusia pounced on Samarra early with a goal from Farhan Karamat, assisted by Sharharyar Khan to go up 1-0. Samarra were playing shorthanded again and were hoping they could find some brilliance from Imad Siraj to save them. Andalusia were determined though to see through their first victory. They played poised and in control with a full roster for the first time since the December break. Samarra struggled to create scoring opportunities and were dependant on the long ball. Goalkeeper Umair Jabbar was forced to play forward in desperation to provide additional scoring upfront but they struggled to find the breakthrough. Rameez Siddiqi scored a goal on the final kick of the game to give Andalusia FC a 2-0 victory.  
Man of the Match: Shaharyar Khan - Video

Anatolia FC     1      |     4   Jerusalem FC

In a match hyped up by the media, everyone expected a high scoring affair. Taqi Ahmed opened the scoring early on a turnover in the Anatolia end which he blasted into the net. Shortly after, Zeem Khan put in a second for Jerusalem on another give away in the attacking end which Kamil Lotia put on a plate for Zeem to blast home. Anatolia FC were playing the counter and finding opportunities but strugged to get past the last line of defence and the Jerusalem keeper. Jerusalem kept the pressure on and could have had many more goals but Asim Waheed played spectacular in net to keep is squad in the match. Taqi would return the favour for Kamil when he set him up the for the third goal of the game for Jerusalem. Anatolia would break the Jerusalem clean sheet with 5 mins left when Zain Khilji blasted one off the post and in to give his squad hope. Jerusalem finished off the game with Omar Sheikh putting one in the back of the net to give Jerusalem a 4-1 victory. Shaheen Limbada and Zahid Merchant earned players of the game for their fine defensive play.  

Man of the Match: Shaheen Limbada & Zahid Merchant - Video

Hejaz FC     5    |     1     Sham FC

After watching Jerusalem get a victory, Hejaz took to the pitch to lock up 1st place overall. It didn't take long for them to take control of the match. Humeid Masood got a fine one touch pass from Muhammad Shah to open the scoring. Sameer Masood would quickly add a second on a feed from A K to give Hejaz a comfortable 2-0 lead. Riaz Murad would give Sham a spark of hope with a fine strike to cut the lead in half going into the break. Sham just watched Anatolia and Samarra lose, with an opportunity to lock up a playoff spot. Hejaz would take over the match with a left footed strike by Muhammad Shah for the Hejaz third. A K would add a fourth for the white and Muhammad would add another to end the match at 5-1. Hejaz continue their unbeaten run while Sham now play a do or die match against Samarra FC next week. 
Man of the Match: Saif Syed - Video

Week 9 Rumours

We hope everyone had a great Family Day long weekend but I’m sure everyone is excited to get back on the pitch. With only two weeks, we head into the penultimate week with some crucial match ups with playoff implications. This Sunday we will be taking team pictures so we ask everyone to please show up 15 minutes early to the game. 

Samarra FC vs. Andalusia FC – 9:00PM on Field 3
The last time these two squads met, Samarra FC stole full points with an only goal in the dying seconds.

Samarra FC come back to the league looking in from the outside of a playoff spot and trailing by the mere goal differential. They will need to claim all three points to best their chances in making the playoffs and could find themselves in third place at the end of it all. Scavenging no points would allow Anatolia and Sham to go into the final week with the tie breaker above them. The team suffered a huge blow with the loss of Athar Siddiqui for the season, we wish him all the best after a back injury. It remains to be seen how Samarra replace him and fill the void upfront. The club will be hoping Numair Bari will be at full strength after a 2 week break as the club’s offensive options continue to deplete. Umair Jabbar finally brought his talents and hair to the midfield and may be just what the club needs to push for a playoff spot. Andalusia is definitely capable of an upset despite going winless thus far and the pressure mounts under the black and red flag. Samarra is heavily involved in playoff implications and have the opportunity to dig through time with a schedule of control. 

Andalusia FC are surprisingly still looking for their first win of the season. The squad has been playing some electric footy but have lacked a consistent flow for a full 50 mins to get a favourable result. GM Farhan Karamat continues to keep the blue and green heart beating in stride with their opponents but cant keep up with the score. Everyone but Samarra FC will be cheering for Andalusia so they can finally get a W before seasons end.  They do expect Rameez Siddiqi to return to the squad after a few weeks for medical/personal reasons. It will be interesting to see if Andalusia will make any changes to their lineup and whether they are eager to build momentum for next season. (It worked for Leicester City last year). Captain Shaharyar Khan has been a one man wrecking crew in his last few matches but will be hoping for more help upfront to steal a win. We expect an evenly poised match just like their first encounter.

Anatolia FC vs. Jerusalem FC – 9:00PM on Field 4

The last time these two teams met, we broke a BISL record for most goals in a game; 8-5 in favour of Jerusalem.  

Anatolia emerge from the break with the toughest schedule at BISL with matchups against the charged up Jerusalem this week and the league leaders Hejaz in their last. While the canaries have been playing with much serenity, they continue to show vulnerability at the back. They have proved to outscore any opponent but have trouble holding a lead when they have it. Captain Zain Khilji has found form once again with a 3 point outburst after going pointless for 2 games but can rely on the Anatolian forwards for output. Osman Buttar has consistently converted chances into goals and is 1 of the 4 players averaging more than a point per game for the team. Management should be more worried about the 4+ goals they have allowed in 5 of their last 6 games which could be the hero’s downfall for the club. They will need enough broomsticks to sweep up the back in time and in order to keep a prevailing Jerusalem from scoring more than 4 goals. Anything less than a point will put all the pressure on Anatolia to claim points off Hejaz in the final week to sneak into the playoffs.

Jerusalem FC in contrast, have virtually locked up 2nd place after splurging into a 6 game unbeaten streak. They will be looking to keep their streak alive and build the good habits of winning for the playoffs. Could we see another goalkeeper for Jerusalem? Zahid Merchant has been crying all season to run free on the artificial green and could finally get his chance. Critics have been analyzing the bold moves of converting striker Saqib Dadaboy to a central defender, and midfielder, Taqi Ahmed to a striker in attempt to bring stability to the squad. Taqi had a 6 point game last time out against his good friends on the canaries and will be looking for more bragging rights this Sunday. Jerusalem will realize they might meet the explosive Anatolia in the playoffs and will not take this game lightly. Anatolia will do the same for sole reason of making the playoffs. Could this game break another BISL scoring record? It will be a definite goal show and a must see match!

Sham FC vs. Hejaz FC – 10:00PM on Field 3

The last time these clubs met, Hejaz pulled off a convincing 4-2 victory against a shorthanded Sham.

Sham FC is coming off a frustrating 6-0 loss and will need to sort things out quickly if they want to cling onto their spot in the playoffs. Sham has had a roller coaster of a season. They started off with 6 points in their first two games and leading the table, only to come back down to earth fighting for a playoff spot. They have had mixed results since and find themselves in 3rd place, but only just. They are set to play Samarra in the final week and get a chance to seal their own fate. However, they will surely try their best to help themselves sooner rather than later. Sham will be hoping they have their full squad in their full intensities as they line up against the undefeated league leaders this Sunday. Their offense has dried up after being shut out in 2 of their last 4 matches. The Orangemen will look to Aazar Zafar and Usman Aslam to find their scoring touch and carry their offense to overcome Hejaz and the dreadful playoff cut.

The white and bright Hejaz return with first place locked up and only their record to play for until the playoffs. The squad has gone undefeated so far this season and will plan to keep their streak going, but most importantly, complete a league double. Raza Ali has been huge for Los Blancos after being promoted to a more forward role and hasn’t disappointed. Humaid Masood has been quiet after a blistering start to the season but has shown the ability to take matches by the collar. Hejaz have no shortage on offense but have suffered defensive lapses from time to time. Sheraz Choudhry has been a revelation for the squad, anchoring the defense in his sophomore year. Rumour has it Hejaz might be tinkering with their lineup to account for players missing during the playoffs. They won’t want to let Sham off the mat given a potential rematch in the playoffs. Expect a tight game on the pitch and on the score line as both team will try their best to not concede. 

Team Charities

The team charities have been finalized. As part of Brotherhood Indoor Soccer League, each team picks a charity that they will represent over the course of the season. At the end of the season, the league will make a donation on behalf of winning team to their charity. 

Anatolia FC - Islamic Relief Canada
Andalusia FC - Reh'ma Community Services
Hejaz FC - Smile
Jerusalem FC - Muslim Welfare Centre
Samarra FC - Unicef Canada
Sham FC - Moeen Centre for Disabled

These are all great causes and we look forward to supporting them going forward. We wish all the teams the best of luck for the rest of the season. 

Week 8 Recap

Hejaz FC     3     |     2      Samarra FC

Hejaz went up against Samarra to keep their unbeaten streak alive, but kicked off shorthanded after skipper Ibrahim Sardar was delayed after a 'wardrobe malfunction.' Hejaz scored the first goal of the match in what seemed like ages after a cross from Raza Ali was deflected into the goal. Samarra got one back in short order, before Raza got his second before the half. Hejaz remained in control for the entire second half, as Samarra tried long ball after long ball to steal a second. Ibrahim Sardar collected his second assist in consecutive weeks after catching the Samarra defense too far up the pitch and got Muhammad Shah on a break after a fantastic goal kick down the field. Samarra had no answers down the stretch, and stole one back on the last kick of the match. Hejaz stays undefeated, while Samarra had to sit and wait to see what the final match's outcome and see if they remain playoff hopefuls. 
Man of the Match: Sheraz Choudhry - Video

Sham FC     0      |     6   Jerusalem FC

While analysts predicted a slow scoring evenly balanced game, we got a lopsided affair. Jerusalem FC came out hungry looking to make a statement and they did just that. Taqi Ahmed showed up late once again but joined the game 5 minutes in only to score on his first touch on a beautiful touch pass by Kamil Lotia. A few minutes later. Zeem Khan would add the second on a great long pass from Shaheen Limbada to give JFC the cushion goal. Sham tried to put together counter opportunities and Aazar Zafar had a great chance before the half only to shoot it at the Jerusalem keeper. In the second half, it was more of Jerusalem's possession and they continued to keep former Jerusalem keeper Yasser Zia busy. To open the half, Shaheen Limbada scored on a low blast and Zeem Khan would add his second of the match on a pass by Kamil Lotia. Saqib Dadabhoy would add his second of the season on a nice set up by Kamil Lotia. Kamil was all over the pitch pressuring defences and intercepting passes. Jerusalem ended the match with a convincing 6-0 victory and a clean sheet for keeper Zahid Merchant. Sham had a full squad and looked out of sorts. Sham had some good chances in the second half but struggled with their build up. They will need a change in strategy as their playoff spot is now in jeopardy. 

Man of the Match: Kamil Lotia - Video

Andalusia FC     4    |    
7     Anatolia FC

After watching Samarra lose early, Anatolia now had to take matters into their own hands. Nehad Shihab opened the scoring early on a bullet shot and would add his second of the match a few minutes later. Andalusia would worsen their cause by putting in an own goal to give Anatolia a 3-0 lead. Playing from behind, Shaharyar Khan looked like a man on a mission. Shaharyar bought Andalusia back singlehandedly with two brilliant strikes from just outside the box. Anatolia went into the break with the lead but started to feel the pressure. Ali Wadee would emerge to shoulder the pressure. Ali would score 7 minutes into the second half to open the flood gates. Osman Buttar scored on a cheeky backheel to make the score 5-2. Andalusia would give their opponents another own goal and Ali Wadee would add the final tally to end the match at 7-4. Mohammad Mahmood and Fahim Karamat would score for Andalusia but it was too little too late as Anatolia hung on for the victory and get themselves back in a playoff spot for the timebeing. 
Man of the Match: Ali Wadee - Video

Week 8 Rumours

 With no trades happening last week, all rosters are final for the remainder of the season. We have come down to the final three weeks of the season. Each squad will be looking to go into the second break on a high. Let's check out the matchups and what to expect this Sunday. 

Sham FC vs. Jerusalem FC – 9:00PM on Field 3
The good news is Sham had their best offensive performance since week 2 against Anatolia, netting four goals last week, but the bad news is they had their worst offensive performance since week 4, giving up four as well. It could’ve been worse if not for world-class ‘keeper Yasser Zia putting on another fine display for the Tangerines, making eight stops against one of the best offences in the league. Zia did everything he could to secure that point for his men, with some massive saves in the dying minutes of the match to see it through. The offense continues to hum for Sham, with Ahmad Alvi, Adeel Ansari and Aazar Zafar providing goals in what seems like every match, but the overreliance on Yasser remains a story in the homestretch. He can’t be superhuman every match, or can he? Sham sit four points clear of fifth place, and if they continue to play like they have been, they should be a lock for the postseason.

Lining up on the other side in this matchup is Jerusalem, who maintained their hold on second place heading into the final weeks of the season after a strong team performance for three points against Samarra last week. The team welcomed back Shaheen Limbada with open arms, as the midfielder combined well with the side and provided the link missing in the big top-of-table clash with Hejaz. Limbada set up Zeem Khan beautifully for the opener, and Khan is on the brink of breaking out to finish the season strong. Zeem was massive for Hejaz last year down the stretch, and seems to be growing a similar footing heading into the playoffs for his new squad. The team also welcomed back Rizvan “the Regulator” Merchant to their backline after he took a week off for freshly-minted fatherly duties (mabrook, man)! However, the Regulator has put in a formal request to team management to give him a shot leading the line – rumour has it that he wants to score a goal and dedicate the finish to his baby boy with a “rock the cradle” or “thumb-suck” celebration #fatheroftheyear. However, pretty sure that won’t fly.

The last time these two teams faced off was crucial in the Sky Blues getting their groove back, as they collected their first points in a 2-0 win and haven’t lost a game since. Sham look at this as an opportunity to further secure their postseason berth and will go all out to collect three points against, while Jerusalem can assure that a win in this fixture will basically cement them a top-2 finish in the League. However, the most logical play would be for both sides to play in a gentleman’s draw and leave it for Anatolia and Samarra to duke it out for the fourth and final playoff spot. But with the teams’ competitive spirit, we can’t see that happening – expect both sides give their all to get the statement win they crave.

Hejaz FC vs. Samarra FC – 9:00PM on Field 4

Hejaz once again fell behind on a defensive mishap early in the match, yet roared back in the second half to get a result. It seems like every week Hejaz stall out of the gate, only to collect their legs in the second half and score enough to maintain that undefeated record. Sameer Masood was welcomed into the side after missing a week and didn’t miss a beat, netting a brace and wreaking havoc on Andalusia with his playmaking and dribbling skills. Sheraz Choudhry was magnificent in defense for los blancos, aggressively stopping his opponents from getting into any sort of groove when they were attempting to mount a comeback. Despite concerns about the Hejaz defence mentioned in this write-up every week, Sheraz has been an imposing presence and is a vital cog in a squad littered with stars. He bosses around opposing forwards week-in week-out with tough challenges and excellent positioning, yet shows composure and vision on the ball when initiating counterattacks for his forwards.

Meanwhile, Samarra saw their three game win streak snapped against Jerusalem last week, once again being held scoreless in a 2-0 defeat. The Black Stars have scored a paltry seven goals in seven matches, but boast a league-best 12 goals against. These guys are solid at the back, with Umair Jabbar providing a more imposing presence between the sticks each passing week, but need to put the ball in the net to have a shot at making the playoffs. With Usama Khan having to withdraw from the league due to an injury (get well soon, bro), GM Umer Jabbar had a golden opportunity to bring in some much needed offensive power. However, Jabbar brought in ANOTHER defender (and another great head of hair) in Shoaib Gaya to further hold the fort down. Jabbar remains confident in his decision, as Gaya has impressed with his ability to stay in front of forwards and break-up passing sequences, despite never playing a lot of soccer prior to joining the L. Jabbar remains confident that the team has what it takes to sneak into the post-season with their defensive discipline, and hope Athar Siddiqui and Imad Siraj can knock in the goals when it counts.

In the first meeting between these two sides, Hejaz handled a depleted Samarra squad 3-1. The boys in black hope to have more reinforcements off the bench this week, as they just couldn’t match Hejaz’s energy down the stretch with only six players dressed last outing. It’ll be a battle of contrasting styles, as the offensive outpour of the highest scoring team in the league faces off against the vaunted fortress of the strongest defense in the league. The unstoppable force meets the immovable object – which team will push through to victory?

Andalusia FC vs. Anatolia FC – 10:00PM on Field 3

We don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but we can’t say it enough – Andalusia are NOT as bad as their record indicates. Despite a scoreline showing a 5-1 drubbing by the Hejazis last week, it was not that lopsided of a game if you watched it. Andalusia have a fluid offence built around Shaharyar Khan, but lack a finisher up front with the club’s top goalscorer from last year, Mohammed Mahmood, lining up in the backfield to shore up the team’s defense. Speaking of defense, how good has new kid on the block Hassan Syed been? Many BISLers know that Syed is a force to be reckoned with in antakshri, but his dominance for Andalusia as a defensive stopper has been one of the bright spots for the Blues this season. He uses his body, takes pride in breaking down the opponent’s buildup, and showed some offensive skill with a beautiful indirect free kick to set up Khan for the team’s only goal last week. The squad hopes to expect to welcome back Rameez 'Raja' Siddiqi this week after his two week absense to welcome his second son. Rameez has been practicing staying on his toes with his new addition (Congrats). 

On the opposing end, Anatolia supporters seem a little panicked at the prospect of possibility missing out on the post-season, as the canaries sit 3 points out of the final playoff spot with three matchweeks to go. Osman Buttar put on a clinical performance up front last week, but the team remained leaky at the back, and gave up four goals to match the four they scored against Sham. GM Zain Khilji faces a tough decision heading into the final weeks. The squad was arguably at their best last season when starlet Nehad Shihab played as a stay-at-home defender, but the Palestinian prefers having more involvement on the other side of the ball. And with reason, as Shihab possesses a lethal shot that’s always a threat from distance. With the team’s defence not holding up their end of the bargain to complement a lethal attack, does Khilji keep the All-Star in the backline, or continue to trust that his offense can outscore their opponents for a ticket to the glory land? We’ll find out this week.

These two sides faced off in Matchweek 3, where the Turks securing a 2-1 victory over the Spaniards. The Blues will be playing for pride while the Yellows will be desperate for three points to catch Samarra. The Blues will have nothing to lose and will be sure to attack relentlessly against a defense prone to breakdowns, while Anatolia will hope their high-octane offense will keep Andalusia pinned in their half of the pitch. This match has all the makings of high-scoring game, and it’ll be a tantalizing way to end Matchweek 8 in the 10:00PM spot – fellow players and neutrals, I’d suggest sticking around to see how this one plays out.


Week 7 Recap

Sham FC     4     |     4      Anatolia FC

There was plenty of drama and scoring in this important week 7 matchup. Sham FC opened the scoring on a turnover by Anatolia in their own zone that Ahmad Alvi snapped up and put away for the opener. Anatolia wasted no time to tie up the match with a bullet shot by Nehad Shihab off an Osman Buttar pass. Anatolia kept the momentum going with another goal a few minutes later by Osman Buttar assisted by Nehad Shihab. Sham FC struck back a minute later on an Aazar Zafar goal. Osman Buttar was playing possessed and scored another goal assisted by Ali Wadee to put Anatolia back on top. Anatolia went into the half up 3-2 and need to hold on in the second half. That wouldn't stand as Ahmad Alvi put in his second of the match less than 2 minutes into the second half. Anatolia continued to get a series of chances but Yasser Zia was there to shut the door. Osman would get his hat-trick goal with less than 11 minutes to play and put Anatolia up by one. Anatolia took a more conservative approach to hold the lead but Sham found a way through for the equalizer with 6 minutes to play on Aazar Zafar's second goal. Anatolia went on the full out attack and get a series of great changes. Osman Buttar was one on one with keeper Yasser Zia only to be denied on 3 separate occasions in the last 3 minutes. Yasser once again came to the rescue when Sham needed it most. Both teams played to an even draw in a very entertaining affair. Anatolia earn a valuable point but feel they should have earned a full 3 points. Sham showed a lot of fight to come from behind twice to earn a precious point. 
Man of the Match: Yasser Zia - Video

Hejaz FC     5      |     1    Andalusia FC

Hejaz looked to keep their unbeaten run going but had their work cut out for them early. Hejaz opened the scoring midway through the match on a long throw by the Hejaz keeper to Muhammad Shah who out ran an Andalusia defencemen to slide the ball into the net. Ibrahim Sardar made history by becoming the first goalkeeper to earn an assist in league history. Andalusia was playing good footie and were getting their chances to tie up the match. Hassan Syed played a chip over to Shaharyar Khan in the box who had a nice turn and finish to tie up the match. With a few minutes left to the half, A K found himself free down the wing and beat the keeper shot side to put Hejaz up by one. In the second half, you could almost see Andalusia running out of steam. They were missing two solid defencemen and were running out of gas. Hejaz showed their class and found a few goals in quick succession by Sameer Masood to put distance between the sides. Muhammad Shah would add his second of the match to end the match at 5-1. Hejaz keep a firm hold on first place while Andalusia's playoff hopes are essentially done. The Binarium bunch can take satisfaction out of their improved play but will have to play spoiler the rest of the way. 

Man of the Match: A K

Jerusalem FC     2    |     0     Samarra FC

With playoff implications on the line, Samarra and Jerusalem took to the field to settle the battle for second place. Last minute scratches Athar Siddiqui and Numair Bari took away offensive catalysts from the team. Jerusalem dominated possession for majority of the match with Samarra trying to counter. It took 20 minutes for the first goal with Zeem Khan putting in a fantastic finish on a ball by Shaheen Limbada. Samarra struggled to put together passes in the offensive zone but had a few chances that Ali Mir and Furhan Azmat could not put away. With 10 minutes left to play, Omar Sheikh took a Taqi Ahmed pass and blasted it past Umair Jabbar for the insurance goal. Jerusalem had a ton of chances but Umair Jabbar played phenominal in goal and probably saved atleast 2 sure goals. Jerusalem earned full points and Samarra see their 3 game winning streak come to an end. Supporters would be more worried about the health of Athar and Numair as they try to hold on to a playoff spot. 
Man of the Match: Zeem Khan

Week 7 Rumours

As we head into the trade deadline this Sunday night, each team will have one final chance to evaluate their squad before the rosters go final. With only 4 games left in the regular season, every game means that much more and playoff seeds start to take form. Let's check out the matchups this Sunday. 

Sham FC vs. Anatolia FC – 9:00PM on Field 3

Sham FC
Orange and yellow clash this Sunday in what is an important match up for both sides. Sham FC earned a solid 3 points in their last match to turn their ship around. Without their two captains, the squad came together to bolster a win with a breakthrough performance by Adeel Ansari. Their defenders continue to earn assists which is a good sign for the balance of the squad. The unsung hero for the tangerines thus far has been Yasser Zia who has allowed 5 goals in 4 matches, in which the club have only scored 5 of their own. Their goalkeeping has surely kept them competitive even when their offense has been lacking creativity. Their offense will need to start producing more goals to take pressure off the backline. Sham will have their eyes set on second place which could be theirs if they pull out a win this Sunday, but if they lose, Anatolia will be hounding them for their playoff spot.

Anatolia FC
It is make or break time for Anatolia FC. The canaries are riding a three game losing streak that has seen them go from second place all the way down to fifth and 4 points away from the playoffs. The club must win or at least sustain a point against Sham if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. GM Zain Khilji leads the league in points and has done everything he can to fuel the offence but the team can’t seem to keep the ball out of their net. Allowing a league leading 21 goals so far, Anatolia might need to rebalance their line-up to assist struggling Goalkeeper, Asim Waheed. New addition Ali Wadee has added 2 goals in 2 games but it’s evident the squad needed a shutdown defender instead. Will they make a trade before the deadline this Sunday? They will need a positive result this Sunday to satisfy their fans and keep their playoff hopes alive. 

Andalusia FC vs. Hejaz FC – 9:00PM on Field 4

Andalusia FC
In a matchup of David vs Goliath, the winless Andalusia take on the league leaders Hejaz this Sunday on the eventful Field 4. While Andalusia have been playing much better footie, they haven’t been able to achieve many favourable results. Goalkeeper Junaid Mirza continues to stock pile saves week after week and some wonder if his defense allow shots through just so Junaid gets no rest. He currently has 30% more saves than any other keeper in the league and it won’t be getting any easier this week facing the top dogs. Their offense has started to click with Shaharyar Khan showing he can score once again. Andalusia earned a draw last time against Hejaz as their only point of the season. Will luck finally start going Andalusia's way? Can they pull off the upset?

Hejaz FC
Hejaz on the other hand don’t have the same pressure to accumulate points. They stand 4 points clear in first place and are likely to finish as high as long as they avoid disaster and continue to fly above the clouds. The priorities now is to finish top and continue their undefeated streak. The team will welcome Sameer Masood back to the squad but will be without Saif Syed for the next encounter. GM Ibrahim Sardar tried his luck in the field last game but realized his team was left vulnerable defensively and decided to guard the pipes himself in the second half. Critics are curious to see if Hejaz will continue to experiment at keeper or other positions before playoffs hit. Sardar has mentioned before, he is not satisfied with the defenses the squad possess which may lead to some activity in the transfer market before the Sunday deadline. It seems no one can stop Hejaz now.

Jerusalem FC vs. Samarra FC – 10:00PM on Field 3

Jerusalem FC
Jerusalem faced adversity early in the season but have overcome their obstacles to sit at 3-2-1 with 10 points. Jerusalem have won their games by outscoring their opponents while Samarra have won by preventing their opponents to score. It’s not only a match between two teams, Jerusalem vs. Samarra, but also a match between tactics, offense vs. defense. Jerusalem are riding a 4 game unbeaten streak and have scored 18 goals after only scoring 1 in their first two matches. The offence is firing on all cylinders but they can’t seem to sort out their defensive issues with 12 goals allowed in their last 3. Taqi Ahmed and Omar Sheikh each have goals in the last three matches but they haven't gotten offense from Saqib Dadabhoy or Shaheen Limbada so far. We are still waiting for breakout games from last years stars.The squad will welcome back Riz ‘the regulator’ Merchant after he welcomed ‘baby regulator’ (Congrats) last Sunday night. Can JFC continue their unbeaten run or will they suffer the same fate as last time?

Samarra FC
Samarra have had an unusual season so far. They have only scored 7 goals thus far which is by far the least of any team but find themselves in the thick of the standings due to their sound defense and goalkeeping. Usama Khan withdrew from the league last week due to personal reasons and the squad picked up another stocky defender in Shoaib Gaya to add to their backline. Samarra earned a 2-1 victory last time out against Jerusalem and will be hoping to shut down the blue offence once again. Both teams sit tied for 2nd place in the standings and this game will have a huge impact on how both teams finish at the end of the season. A revelation for the squad so far has been Numair Bari who has held down their midfield and created for his strikers upfront. Numair and Furhan Azmat will be tested this Sunday and will have to prove they can control the midfield against a hot offense in Jerusalem. Big game this Sunday for the blacks and they will need to come away with points. 

Week 6 Recap

Andalusia FC     1     |     3      Sham FC

In a matched of two teams struggling, Sham FC showed they were finding their form again. This match had Adeel Ansari's fingerprints all over it. The big man helped open the game by setting up Aazar Zafar for the opener in the first few minutes of the match. Sham kept up the pressure and kept getting shots on the Andalusia net. Andalusia find some nice counter attack opportunities but were unable to find the finishing touch. Adeel Ansari got a ball from Maaz Mohiuddin which he put past the Andalusia keeper to put Sham up 2-0. Andalusia FC responded right back with Hassan Chaudhry finding his maiden goal on a nice assist by Farhan Karamat. The teams would start the second half trading chances but both keepers kept their teams in the game. Adeel Ansari would finish off his brilliant night with another goal assisted by Ahmad Alvi. Sham would go on the finish with a 3-1 victory and move back up the standings in a tie for second place. Andalusia's playoff hopes continue to dwindle despite their improved play.
Man of the Match: Adeel Ansari - Video

Hejaz FC     4      |     4    Jerusalem FC

The most anticipated match of the night did not disappoint. Despite both teams missing some key players, the match was worthy of the hype. 
 In a surprise move, Saif Syed played goal to start for Hejaz FC while Ibrahim Sardar got some time upfront. Jerusalem FC got on the board first on a brilliant pass by Taqi Ahmed to set up Kamil Lotia for his maiden goal. Jerusalem would shortly add a second on a penalty kick for a handball in the box. Omar Sheikh put it away to put Jerusalem up 2-0. Hejaz FC would get one back on a shot by Muhammad Shah was deflected off a defender to beat the Jerusalem keeper. Jerusalem looked in complete control in the first half while adding another by Omar Sheikh to go up 3-1 at the half. The second half was a different story with Hejaz striking back early on a goal by Humeid Masood to get back in the match. Taqi Ahmed found a errand pass to put in a goal to put Jerusalem back up by 2. Humeid Masood would get his second of the match on a nice pass by Raza Ali to get them within one. With 5 minutes left, Muhammad Shah got a highlight reel goal by taking a shot from distance that curved into the top corner to tie up the match. Jerusalem had a couple of chances after that but Ibrahim Sardar went back in goal in the second half and showed why he is the starting keeper for Hejaz FC. Jerusalem will be kicking themselves after blowing two goal leads twice while Hejaz will gladly take the point which almost secures top spot for them. 
Man of the Match: Humeid Masood - Video

Samarra FC     2    |     1     Anatolia FC

With playoff implications on the line, Samarra and Anatolia took to the pitch hoping to improve their chances of qualification. Both teams had some great chances to go out infront but couldn't capitalize. Some nice one touch passing had Imad Siraj in the clear for the opener but the put the golden opportunity wide of the net. On the other end Osman Buttar and Ali Wadee showed their chemistry while creating chances for each other. Both teams went into the second half goalless but you could tell something was about to give. Anatolia continued to control possession but couldn't find a way past Umair Jabbar. Ali Wadee scored his second goal of the season while Samarra scored on penalty for a handball which was deposited by Imad Siraj. Samarra continued to get set pieces and found an open Furhan Azmat who headed in the winning goal. Samarra FC pulled out a huge win and showed a lot of character to snatch 3 points. Anatolia FC now find themselves 4 points back of a playoff spot with 4 games to go. 
Man of the Match: Furhan Azmat

Week 6 Rumours

With the first half of the season in the books, there stands one team ahead of the pack and one team far behind, while the other four continue to jockey for playoff position. This week, we see rematches of each showdown from opening week, one of which is a top-of-the-table clash that is the most vaunted rivalry in BISL’s short history. Let’s see what’s popping in this week’s rumours.

Hejaz FC vs. Jerusalem FC – 9:00PM on Field 4

Hejaz FC
Hejaz find themselves at the top of the table and undefeated heading into this matchup, which is exactly how they went into their second game against Jerusalem last year. However, this los blancos is a brand new breed. GM Ibrahim Sardar is more than happy with the results going their way, but surely doesn’t feel as confident as he did last year. The defence again looked outmatched at times, often pushing too far up the pitch and leaving them exposed to the counter. But at the end of the day, what matters is that they they won thanks to the team’s continued offensive dominance, netting five goals in arguably the best game of the season for neutrals. Muhammad Shah finally had a game we’d expect of him, collecting the game winning goal and beautifully setting up his teammates with three helpers on the night. They’ll need Shah at his best again this week, with Sameer Masood unavailable for selection. Also, don’t be surprised to see a new face between the sticks. The heavy reliance of the team on Sardar in net has left the team without a tested backup. The question is who? Adeel Sheikh? AK?? Saif Syed??? Hashim Ghazi???? HAHAHA YEAH RIGHT. Regardless, Hejaz don’t find their position at the top of the table threatened this week with a four point cushion and can afford to try something new. They don’t seem to care about going undefeated but are just focused on playing good football and collecting three points. However, we’re skeptical if that’s really the case.

Jerusalem FC
ZIGGY ZIGGY ZIGGY THAT BOY UP TO SOMETHIN’…HE JUST SPENT LIKE TWO OR THREE WEEKS OUT THE COUNTRY. Yes, the Commissioner Zahid Merchant is back in town from his trip to the motherland, and comes back hungry (assumedly for football, as he’s eaten enough over the last few weeks to last him a while). Zahid takes back his position between the sticks for the top of the table clash this week. Unfortunately, Jerusalem report that fiery leader Shaheen Limbada will not be in the side this week, as he is south of the border with his family celebrating his son’s birthday in Florida (Happy Birthday Zayd!). Also, we have no idea whether Kamil Lotia will be in the lineup, largely because we think he’s a figment of our imagination with all the time the young forward has missed this year. Jerusalem circled this matchup with league leaders Hejaz after week one, in which they lost 1-0 and put in their most frustrating display. The team that lined up on opening day looks a lot different now, largely because of superstar pickup Omar Sheikh. Sheikh put on his best “miracle in Istanbul” Stevie G performance last week against Andalusia, with an incredible second half display that awarded his team a full three points and a stronghold on second in the standings. Jerusalem’s core of Saqib Dadabhoy, Rizvan Merchant and Taqi Ahmed are all too familiar with the fanfare surrounding matchups with Hejaz, but they know to approach this game like any other – play your heart out for fifty minutes and fight for three points.

Andalusia FC vs. Sham FC – 9:00PM on Field 3

Andalusia FC
The unluckiest team in BISL cannot seem to catch a break. In the last game of 2015, they were victim’s of Samarra's late game heroics that cost them a clean sheet and three points. In their first game of 2016, they looked as good as ever but just could not see it through for the full fifty. After some impressive front line play by the Karamat brothers and Shaharyar Khan, they blues found them up 3-1 in the second half against the second place Jerusalem, only to give up three goals in quick succession that gave Jerusalem the three points they hoped for. Despite a record that isn’t anything to be proud of (they haven’t won a game all season), they have NOT been bad – just have yet to put in a commanding fifty minutes they can be proud of. On another note, how fluid is Hassan Syed's movement? Mash'Allah. Anyways, we're getting carried away. This week, Andalusia hope to come right on a matchup that saw them lose 3-1 on opening day. Surely luck has to reverse its fortune eventually, and we see them having a very good shot at getting the three points they’ve been searching for all season.

Sham FC
After winning their first two fixtures and looking like a team ready to challenge for the title, Sham have collected 1 point from their last three matches. Last week, the tangerines worked their butt off but could not put the ball in the back of the net in a goalless draw verse Samarra. Sham hopes to get back their blistering form heading into the second half of the season, and get some results in their favour to cement their spot in the playoffs. Yasser Zia and Ahmed Alvi continue to be the stars that have brought Sham this far, but where’s Aazar Zafar at? This team cannot challenge without Zafar manning the front line, and need him to show up down the stretch to keep them post-season bound. A performance like the one we saw on opening day against this week’s foes Andalusia will surely help with that. Factoring that the win in November was without their superstar keeper Zia, and they have a lot to be positive about going into the matchup. Three points in this fixture will put some wind in their sails, and give them the confidence needed to solidify their first ever playoff berth.

Samarra FC vs. Anatolia FC – 10:00PM on Field 3

Samarra FC
Looking at the results from past week, it still baffles us that a team with two of the best five goalscorers in the league last year could not put a single one into the net last week against Sham. However, we’ll chalk it up to lack of match sharpness after the holiday break, and anticipate Samarra reversing their fortune against Anatolia this week. Or will they? The boys in black still must be having nightmares after what transpired the last time these two teams faced each other. It was, by FAR, the worst performance of any team this season. Credit to GM Umer Jabbar and captain Umair Jabbar for having their guys shake off memories of that performance and put in pretty solid performances since then to see their way into playoff position. With Imad Siraj leading the line, Numair Bari being an engine as an attacking midfield while Furhan Azmat continues to “do it in the DM”, they have a balanced attack going forward. Factor in a defence that has kept two straight clean sheets, and it’s safe to say that the Samarra we see now is a shade of the team we saw get rollicked in week one. Plus, let’s not forget fan favourite Tausif Hussain – the kid could go on a Vardy-like tear to close out the season…watch out now.

Anatolia FC
Anatolia look back at their scintillating matchup against Hejaz last week disappointed not to get at least a point out of the match. It was a fantastic match, and the result surely left a sour taste in the Canaries mouth after putting in one heck of a team performance. With four different goalscorers, and an offensive output that kept the Hejaz defense scrambling, they proved once again that when they’re on, they are the best team in the league. However, they came up empty-handed and currently sit shockingly in fifth place. They’ll be licking their chops this week facing a team they had their most complete performance against. Although Nehad Shihab will be out of the lineup, the Yellow Submarines backline welcomes back CRAZY Ahmad Ammad back into the mix to provide another strong body to hold off opposing forwards. Newcomer Ali Wadee was brilliant in his first game of the season, showing a lot of energy and craftiness in the final third. Joining fellow Greenbird Osman Buttar, the duo showed the chemistry they’ve developed on the ice and translated into some quality movements forward. Though there is still a lot of football to play this season, Anatolia sees this as a must-win game to get them back into playoff position. Anything less will be considered a disappointment for Zain Khilji and his men.

Week 5 Recap

Hejaz FC     5     |     4      Anatolia FC

What a cracker! An open game was expected between the two top scoring teams in the league, and it surely was a great game for the neutrals. How open? The score was 1-1 two minutes in. Newcomer Ali Wadee added more verve to an already potent front line, and was crucial in giving the Canaries control throughout the first half. Anatolia found themselves up 3-1 at half, with the third goal coming from some incredible skill and control by Zain Khilji as he slalomed his way through the defense for the clean finish. Hejaz regained control in the second half and scored three straight goals to give them a 4-3 edge. Anatolia went on to even up the score, but an inspiring finish by reigning MVP Muhammad Shah off a corner gave his lads three points. Shah was named Man of the Match, having his best game of year on the stat sheet with three helpers to go along with his game-winning goal. The win keeps Hejaz undefeated and at the top of the standings at the halfway point of the season.

Man of the Match: Muhammad Shah

Sham FC     0      |     0     Samarra FC

Nil-Nil? in BISL? Wow. Who would’ve thought? However, with what the scoreline lacks in colour the match made up for. Both teams had their chances, but the strikers just didn’t have their shooting boots on today. Samarra were again short-handed (sadly, a recurring theme this year for the boys in black), while Sham had all ten guys ready to go. Credit goes to both defenses for holding each offence in check, and neither team can really hate the result. Anytime clean sheets are involved, you have to give love to the keepers. Yasser Zia and Umair Jabbar didn’t have the busiest nights, but were solid when it counted, each making a few eye-opening saves to keep their team in check. Both keepers are a large part why the sides notched a point apiece. Those types of confident display deserve co-Man of the Match awards for the goalies, a first in BISL history. The draw leaves Sham in third at the midway point, while Samarra sneak into fourth after Anatolia lost earlier to Hejaz.

Co-Men of the Match: Yassier Zia & Umair Jabbar

Jerusalem FC     4     |     3     Andalusia FC

Jerusalem was short-handed but ready to keep hold of second place in the league. Meanwhile, Andalusia was reeling to go after the press had some harsh things to say about their chances in the League this year. Jerusalem appeared in control throughout the first half, yet only had a goal to show for it. Andalusia tied it up just before the halftime whistle and looked confident to keep that flow going in the second. And keep it going they did, with Fahim Karamat being involved in everything going forward. They scored two goals in quick succession, and they looked primed to take all three points. However, Omar Sheikh had other ideas. He took over the game and willed his team to score three straight to take all three points. Sheikh was a man on a mission and had two goals and two assists on the day – an easy choice for Man of the Match. The win keeps Jerusalem in second, while the loss puts Andalusia at the bottom of the standings for another week. However, after two consecutive strong performances by the Blues, we cannot afford write them off just yet.

Man of the Match: Omar Sheikh

Week 5 Rumours

Welcome back and Happy New Year - the teams are ready to get back onto the pitch, so let's get right into the rumours. 

NOTE: there are TWO games being played at 10:00PM this week and only one at 9:00PM - standard scheduling (two 9:00PM games and one 10:00PM game) will resume next week

Hejaz FC vs. Anatolia FC (9:00PM on Field 3)

Hejaz FC
Hejaz FC is cruising comfortably at the heights of the table undefeated and looking more likely to perform the league double by each match. The heroics of the Masood Brothers, Sameer and Humied have been massive for the club as their offensive capabilities help star Muhammed Shah lock down the midfield for his team. The club has implemented what seems to be a retreat tactic when they are not happy with their possession. Forwards come back to defend until their passing begins to click again. GM Ibrahim Sardar has been stellar and it’s just what title contenders hope for from their keeper. The flaw in the masterclass this club has put together for the second year in a row is their defense. From time to time, Hejaz will grant opportunities to their opponents in front of goal and rely on Sardar or backup to bail them out. The Anatolians will take every opportunity as Hejaz face what could be their toughest matchup of the season. Despite their league dominance, Hejaz will have to be on their heels to see this one through. 

Anatolia FC
The Anatolians have been impatient to resume their campaign and it begins again with a clash against the league leaders Hejaz FC. The mighty canaries have been lethal up the pitch scoring a league best 14 goals in 4 games but allowing as many goals behind them. Critics have articulated that they simply aren’t good enough on D and seem to have no leadership from the back. GM Zain Khilji was in the press mid-week voicing his concerns over the 8-5 loss against Jerusalem FC pointing to a lack of focus and miscommunication. The club will definitely utilize new signing Ali Wadee to shrink their defensive deficit while the offense is expected to continue to tally up goals. If the squad finds a way to retain possession, Anatolia FC could become an unstoppable force. Regardless, Hejaz will certainly have to play on their back foot against such an explosive style of play.

Sham FC vs. Samarra FC (10:00PM on Field 3)

Sham FC
Sham FC lost their form half-way through the first stretch of the season taking no points from their last two matches. The club still has a reputation for a strong offense and resilient goal keeping but need to put in performances they are capable of in order to secure a playoff spot. GM Omair Zuberi has reportedly spent all of Sham’s training budget on bath salts during the break. It is said that these salts help relax sore muscles and promote healing, but we aren’t sure what Sham is healing from during the break. Perhaps, top secret training sessions. Sham will face off against Samarra this Sunday and will look to take all 3 points to get back on track. Ahmed Alvi has been the star for Sham and the team will look to him for goal contribution as this matchup is a must win for their supporters. Yasser Zia is set to reclaim is position in net and Aazar Zafar on the wing. Samarra has shown enough resilience to stop any offense. Sham will need to work hard to break through.

Samarra FC
Samara FC has really come together as a team to dig deep for valuable points as they keep themselves competitive in the standings at BISL. Looking back at their season thus far, the club is missing a key playmaking midfielder and management is well aware of what to do to compensate the scarcity. Numair Bari and Furhan Azmat have been the adrenaline in squad both on and off bench, giving Samara an extra edge especially in the second half. Umair Jabbar continues to lead the team from between the pipes with a full picture on how to respond to threats and create threats of their own. Umair was once an elite striker but could not handle the lime life as Hakka cuisine and shampoo endorsements consumed him. He now plays keeper to maintain his lifestyle but remains one of the best at what he does. A sad story indeed. The Red and Black backline has been sturdier than expected as critics praised management for bringing their best to pitch and fighting to win. The squad is raising in stature and there’s no telling how far they can go. The next step is the beat the over-confident Sham FC. 

Jerusalem FC vs. Andalsia FC (10:00PM on Field 4)

Jerusalem FC
Jerusalem FC has officially turned their season around by winning their previous 2 fixtures after losing their opening 2. The squad looked impressive vs Anatolia with great offensive possession and low driven shots to open the scoring. Jerusalem seized Omar Sheikh from Sham on waivers in exchange for Ayaz Sethi whose talents will be missed in barter for Omar's experience. Unless Jerusalem can pull off any other trades, Zahid Merchant will be playing goalkeeper the rest of the way. They will be short players due to personal vacations again this week with Kamil Lotia missing his third consecutive week, Shaheen Limbada away due to family travel and Captain Zahid Merchant away in Pakistan. Jerusalem will need to find someone to fill in at GK and hope players are still in shape after an extended break. Defender Rizwan Merchant is committed to stay fit for his club by running outside in the rain wearing under armour attire. By passers mistakened the scene for a super-athlete commercial. The club welcomes back Saqib Dadabhoy after his international duty to the club’s relief as they will need to claim full points if they want to stay in second place.

Andalusia FC
Andalusia FC continues to struggle through this campaign picking up only 1 point from 4 matches. The club definitely deserves more credit than that as they’ve lost their last 2 games by only 1 goal, both during the final minutes of the match. Management is reassuring the players to stay focused and forget the bad spell the club is going through or put under. Despite being on the bottom of the table, the squad can rally points from any game, but it seems the pressure of constant defeat is building. During the break, League supporter surveys depicted that Andalusia is the least likely to win the cup. The club will certainly use this as motivation to better their performance and results of the survey come next break. In the meantime, Andalusia needs to find a balance between offense and defence. It seems they have been focusing much of their efforts in front of their own goal which is translating to a goal drought at the club. Management will be focused on improvement especially after the break to turn the club’s fate around before it’s too late.

This week will mark the halfway point for each team's campaign - let's see who looks poised for a second-half surge and those who hit a wall.

Week 4 Recap

Jerusalem FC   8     |     5   Anatolia FC

In this highly anticipated matchup, Anatolia came out firing with some point-blank chances but the Jerusalem keeper and captain was up to the challenge. Anatolia found an early goal on a counter attack with Zain Khilji feeding Nehad Shihab for a beautiful finish. Jerusalem turned the pressure on after that and Taqi Ahmed found an equalizer minutes after on a feed by new addition Omar Sheikh. Jerusalem went on to add 3 more goals before the break to go up 4-1 at the half. Jerusalem found a couple soft goals to start the second half, which finally lit a fire on the Canaries offence. The Anatolia offence turned the jets on and found a few quick goals on some beautiful finishes by Zain Khilji and Osman Buttar. Taqi would score two more to give him a total of 4 goals and 2 assists on the day, earning him MOTM honours. Jerusalem comes out with a huge victory to find them tied for second place heading into the winter.

Man of the Match: Taqi Ahmed - click here to watch his Post-Game Interview

Andalusia FC   0      |     1   Samarra FC

A matchup featuring two sides that have yet to show to hit top gear was a tight affair with strong defensive displays from both sides. Faceswapper Bari and WPG’s Finest Azmat continued wreaking havoc with their combination play up front, but Andalusia would sniff out the danger. Hassan Syed put on his best Crimemaster Gogo performance, being a villain of the finest variety in the eyes of the Samarran attackers and generally disrupting any buildup by the boys in black. Shaharyar Khan made his return to the lineup for the Blues and was rocking the captain’s armband at kickoff. His performance was solid in the middle of the pitch, being the link between both ends Andalusia was missing their last match. However, the Blues bad luck took a different form this week. Though substitute Hassan Choudhry became the first Salman Rafay-replacement in ages to be injury-free after their first match, Andalusia were victim to a late goal in the dying minutes by Imad Siraj to give Samarra the victory. Samarra deserves the three points with a committed display, but the Spaniards must be kicking themselves after leaving the game with zero points despite a well-played game. Siraj’s last minute heroics crowned him MOTM.

Man of the Match: Imad Siraj - click here to watch his Post-Game Interview

Sham FC   2     |     4   Hejaz FC

In a battle of the men draped in orange and white, it was Hejaz who came out the gates red-hot, scoring three goals before the half on tidy finishes and impressive set-ups. The Hejaz defense finally had a first half they can be proud of, holding the backline well and distributing the ball well to their playmakers up front. Los Blancos got a bit too comfortable with their lead, and gave up two goals to youngster Ahmad Alvi that had his bench fired up for a potential comeback. However, Hejaz maintained their cool when it counted and managed to find the back of the net to give them a two goal cushion they’d see out to three points. Captain Ibrahim Sardar had a miraculous save on a shot at point-blank by Sham, showing there was no way he was going to let the Orange claw back into the game. The win keeps Hejaz undefeated on the season and at the top of the table. Hejaz’s goals were scored by Sameer Masood, and Raza Ali, with a brace for Humeid Masood. Humeid’s all-around play garnered him MOTM honours for the second time this young season.

Man of the Match: Humeid Masood - click here to watch his Post-Game Interview

Matchweek Four is the final Matchweek of 2015. Heading into the winter break, Hejaz are table toppers with 10 points, while Andalusia remains at the bottom with a single point. The remaining four squads all sit at six points, apiece. We wish you all a safe and happy new year, insha’Allah, and look forward to seeing you when the League returns on January 10th.

Week 4 Rumours

As we enter the final week before the winter break, there remains no clear-cut number one team. Any team can get a proper result every week, and it only makes for a more intense build-up heading in to the new year. Here’s what’s making news this week.

Andalusia FC vs, Samarra FC (9:00PM on Field 3)

Andalusia FC
The 'Hassan Noor' curse continues for Andalusia. Hassan Noor was AFC’s midfielder last season who broke his ankle in a freak accident on the field. Salman Rafay was brought into replace Hassan, played two games last year and got injured in practice before the season this year. Atiq Altaf was brought into replace Salman and tore his meniscus in his first game for the team – ruling him out for the rest of the season and leaving AFC to look for a brave soul to fill these boots. The team picked up Hassan Chaudhry who will be replacing Atiq Altaf for the rest of the season after being claimed on waivers. We wish Atiq a quick recovery and hope to see him again next season. Also, Rameez Siddiqi suffered a dreadful fall last week after making a valiant clearance effort. The tumble led to him making contact with the vent, and suffered a laceration to the top of his head requiring 13 staples to cover up. We are pleased to announce that Rameez didn’t suffer concussion-symptoms, and hope to see him on the field as soon as he gets clearance from his agent (wife). The Spaniards cannot catch a break, but they remain resilient heading into a must-win matchup against Samarra. The injuries will force them to be short-handed again, but they won’t be short on effort as they bond together to get a result for their injured brethrens. GM and Captain Farhan Karamat has decided that the winless team needs a change at the top and is rumoured to be giving up the armband. The new captain of the team is to be unveiled in a press conference just before the game against Samarra.

Samarra FC
The Samarrans played hard against Hejaz last week and went into half tied at one apiece. However, the short bench eventually got to them, and their legs couldn’t push through to get the result they were hoping for. Numair 'faceswapper' Bari and WPG’s finest Furhan Azmat were all over the pitch and the Hejaz defense last week, putting pressure on their opponent’s backline in hopes of a chance on goal. The strategy worked as they used their good looks to distract Hejaz defender Hashim Ghazi into coughing up the ball in his own zone that led to the duo combining for the opening goal. The redblacks possess one of the League’s most lethal finishers in Imad Siraj, but it hasn’t resulted in the goals they’ve expected. The team knows they have to put Siraj in better positions to flourish, but also need Siraj to contribute on both sides of the ball. The team is built on counterattacking, and Siraj will get the goals he’s surely capable of collecting once he connects better with the midfield and presses the opposition into mistakes he and his teammates can pounce on. Samarra welcomes a near-full squad this week and hope a complete performance from their guys sees them through to three points.

Jerusalem FC vs. Anatolia FC (9:00PM on Field 4)

Jerusalem FC
Jerusalem finally found their rhythm last match, with a 2-0 effort vs. Sham for their first win of the season. It was a valiant team effort, with everyone doing a little extra on the offensive to make up for their two primary strikers being out of the lineup. Rizvan “the Regulator” Merchant stays regulating, and leads the league in blocked shots (a stat not officially kept by the league, though the seeing-eye test shows Rizzy isn’t afraid to put his body on the line for the benefit of his squadron). Taqi Ahmed took a little trip to the loo before the game last week, which didn’t impress skipper Ziggy Merchant – he set out a warning on Ahmed to ensure the tank is emptied before kickoff and to show up on time for matches. During training, former Hejaz defender and BISL champion Shafeeq Ahmed was electric in set pieces, hitting the post on multiple direct attempts – the only two problems is that there aren’t any direct free kicks in the league, and the post isn’t really what you hope to hit when putting a shot on target. A FOR EFFORT THROUGH, BRUV. The squad welcome back Shaheen Limbada in the squad after a week off and he will be hoping to make an impact. The Sky Blues will be looking to away with full points again this week to make a big push for when they’re at full strength after the break. 

Anatolia FC
It’s been a season of up and downs for Anatolia, but they found their winning ways again last week after Zain Khilji made his return to the lineup. One man who will not be making a return to the lineup is defender Bilal Javed, who has a recurring injury that’ll keep him out for the rest of the season – get well soon Insha’Allah bro! Anatolia looks to pick up Ali Wadee off waivers as Javed’s replacement to complete their backline. Nehad Shihab cannot seem to find the back of the net, registering only 3 goals on 25 shots. Furthermore, Osman Buttar keeps showing up late, which has whispers of vets in the league worried about the rookie’s sense of entitlement. Buttar may be a star on the softball field and hockey rink, but he knows that kind of carefree attitude isn’t welcome regardless of how good you are. We expect him to change course and be more punctual from here on out. Hassan Mirza has been a revelation for the squad, raising the eyebrows of his teammates in his midfield role as distributor. If Khilji gets 100% fit, Shihab finds his touch from last year, Buttar makes himself available from the onset of the game, and Mirza continues setting the tempo from the middle of the pitch, Anatolia’s offense is a force to be reckon with – the problem is, there’s a lot of ifs that have to fall into place for that to happen.

Sham FC vs. Hejaz FC (10:00PM on Field 3)

Sham FC
Sham came back to earth this week after losing to Jerusalem last week, knocking them out of top spot. Sham’s offence continued to hum, but could not seem to find the net. They took a total of 18 shots, but only five were on target. With news that’ll only hurt their offence more, forward Syed G Hussain has withdrawn from the league due to an injury – the team has yet to announce who they intend on picking up from waivers, but we wish Syed the best and a speedy recovery, Insha’Allah. All signs point to Sham bringing in a forward to replace the injured Hussain, but may go the defense route to allow Ahmad Alvi some more time in front of goal. The Tangerines again got a solid performance from ‘keeper Yasser Zia, who made seven saves on the night. Zia is up for the challenge, but I am sure he’s wondering why his defense is closing down guys quicker to avoid more shots on target. Yasser can’t be superman every week – he needs be the last line of defense, not the only one. His Sunday evenings won’t get any easier this week, facing the vaunted offence of Hejaz at 10PM.

Hejaz FC 
The Hejazis capitalized on a short-squad Samarra last week with a convincing 3-1 victory. Hejaz had most of the possession, and despite an early snafu that led to a Samarra goal, the Hejaz defense got stronger as the match went along. That seems to be a recurring issue – the Hejaz defense starts off the match a bit flustered, often being outnumbered on the counter. This may be a result of the total football played by the team, with defenders joining the attack and leaving the backline exposed for a break. However, as the match develops, the backline solidifies and remains tough to breach. Though the team would rather a strong showing from minute one, having a defense that grows in confidence as time ticks allows the team to hold offences when it matters most. Los Blancos made a big personnel move this week, moving Raza Ali to the front of the line, and it paid off dividends. Raza was instrumental last week, scoring the go-ahead goal and also smacking one off the iron a few minutes later. Ali prefers a more offensive role, and the team’s management took notice – Ali will be playing a lot more forward from here on out as his eye for goal and ability to set up others will only further boost the league leaders.

Matchweek Four gets going this Sunday at 9PM - good luck to all! 

Week 3 Recap

Game 1: Jerusalem FC - 2   |   Sham FC - 0
Sham were looking to take advantage of a struggling Jerusalem squad but Jerusalem finally found some form this night. The match started off with Sham dominating possession and getting quality chances. Goalkeeper Zahid Merchant made some crucial saves to keep JFC in the match. The blues were buying time early on while midfielder Taqi Ahmed had to take care of business in the men's room. Playing short benched, Jerusalem was sitting back and waiting to counter. Substitute Omar got a fine pass from Shafeeq Ahmed early in the second half to open the scoring wit a blast off the post and in. Jerusalem were suddenly dominating possession now and Sham had to resort to the long ball. Rizvan Merchant played a fine pass down the middle to Zeem Khan who tucked it away nicely for the insurance goal. Jerusalem played a solid defensive game to lock up 3 points and get their campaign going. Sham were shellshocked after a torrid offensive pace in previous matches only to be shut out on Sunday. 

Man of the Match: Zeem Khan - Click here to watch Player of the Game video

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

The initial phases of the match saw Hejaz getting a lot of the ball with Samarra sitting back on the counter - an expected approach given that the redblacks only had 7 players dressed for the match. The tactic worked when Hashim Ghazi misplayed the ball that was pounced on by the Samarra attackers and led to Numair Bari putting his guys ahead. Hejaz would eventually get one back before the end of the half by Muhammad Shah to even the score. The second half saw much of the same with Hejaz holding a lot of possession but lacking that clinical finishing in the final third. Finally, Raza Ali found space to put a low-driven shot into the twine, before Sameer Masood added a third shortly after for insurance. Samarra were rampant throughout the match, and defended well, but the short squad lost their legs down the stretch and couldn't keep it up. Credit to them for the effort, but it was Hejaz who came away with three points to go with some exquisite football.

Man of the Match: Raza Ali 
Game 3: Anatolia FC - 2   |   Andalusia FC - 1
This game was a back and forth battle with waves of attacks from both sides. Anatolia was short-benched and Andalusia took control early with their new signing Atiq Altaf. Nehad Shihab started a counter and cut it back to the limping Zain Khilji who found the near post and the back of the net to put his squad up 1-0. Atiq continued his dominance and let one fly from range, took a deflection and leved it 1-1. Rameez went crashing into the stands after a valiant clearance and suffered a blow to the head. We wish him all the best. The second half was all Anatolia as Osman Buttar arrived just before halftime. Both teams had their chances but failed to capitalize. Atiq found himself all alone with the keeper but Asim Waheed came up with a huge save to keep the match levelled. With 5 minutes left Anatolia made a counter from Nehad to Zain to Osman with a nifty finish to put Anatolia up for the last time. Asim Waheed made a few big saves to keep his team in the game. Anatolia get a big bounce back win to move up in the standings. 

Man of the Match: Asim Waheed 
Click here to watch Player of the Game video

Week 3 Rumours

Matchweek two had tight games ending in wins and an offensive assault that ended in a draw. There were fireworks, big goals, bigger injuries and a massive upset - surely Matchweek Three can't compete with that, right? Let's find out.

Jerusalem FC vs, Sham FC (9:00PM on Field 3)

Jerusalem FC
Jerusalem have played well in both of their previous fixtures but have lacked the killer instinct to win the games. The finalists find themselves in an early slump registering no points on the season and scoring only once in 2 games thus far. On a positive note, they have only allowed 3 goals in the 2 defeats. It seems they have the firepower in the barrel but can’t seem to create a spark to unleash it. To add to their worries, the sky blues will be without Saqib Dadaboy and Kamil Lotia who are taking the rest of the month off. Guess the vacation destinations of your favourite players on JerusalemFC.com for a chance to win tickets to the Jerusalem vs. Anatolia game (note: not a real website or contest - though everyone can be a winner and come out to watch this match). GM Zahid Merchant is left with many holes to fill and will be under pressure to make changes that will finally put some points up for the club. How will Jerusalem respond to a Sham team firing on all cylinders?

Sham FC
Sham has performed above expectations so far and are really shaping out to be a well-rounded team. Despite being the only team to take all points from their games, some critics are not impressed just yet. The real test will come from their next two games before we label them as one of the best. Yasser Zia had a “stealer” performance in goal with several full stretch and diving saves, while Ahmad Alvi danced in 2 goals put the tangerines out of reach. When GM Omair Zuberi was approached by media about his success, he responded with 3-word answers. Either he has butterflies from all the attention on the Orange or his agent (allegedly former star player Faheem Kotwal) has warned him to be mindful of what he says. This week’s fixture will determine if the team has enough oxygen to be at the top of the table. After Sham’s win last week, BISL reporter was on scene to capture the story and investigate the secret to the club’s success. To our surprise, we found an 8x10 bordered Vellum Bristol paper that said:
  1. Epsom bath salts;
  2. Stretch after each game; and,
  3. Cupping once a week at Yasser's.
Yasser’s draft value is expected to increase exponentially as his expertise in cupping seems to boost team performance. ‎Playmaker Alvi pointed out that even though Sham is winning, he feels they can do better. All the stars are aligned for Sham as they take on the suffering Jerusalem FC.

Samarra FC vs. Hejaz FC (9:00PM on Field 4)

Samarra FC
Samarra FC forced their way through the standings as no one would have predicted their victory against Jerusalem. It seems GM Umer Jabbar has found the right mix between his players with position and formation changes on his first attempt. After a nightmarish week 1, the side showed a lot of composure to obtain the result and a lot of credit goes to their captain, Umair Jabbar for his leadership and promoting the gelling of his hair and teammates. Numair Bari is turning out to be the club's secret weapon, scoring game winners as his speed and deceptive playstyle opens up opportunities in front of goal. The defensive pairing of Tausif Hussain and Ahmed Butt left an impression on the league and were dubbed the Great Wall of China. We will keep you posted on the reason why - worth noting that none of the players are of Chinese descent. The Red and Black kickoff against Hejaz this week which will surely put the new and improved Samarrans up for further assessment.

Hejaz FC
Hejaz received 1 out of 3 points last Sunday in what the team feels was an embarrassing defensive effort. The net bulged four times behind them, triggering a protocol to tighten up at the back as GM Ibrahim Sardar was too disappointed to make an appearance in the media this week. League defences have held the golden Muhammad Shah in check, as he's only registered one assist this campaign. However, Shah's had plenty of support on the scoresheet, with the Masood brothers stepping up to fill his scoring boots. Saif Syed has been a dominant character in the midfield retaining possession and slipping balls in behind for his strikers. Los blancos will lineup facing their old poacher Imad Siraj this week, a man who was crucial in Hejaz’s previous championship run. There's been no love lost on either side as the match builds up. Hejaz looks like the best team so far and they look to continue their dominance over Samarra this weekend.

Anatolia FC vs. Andalusia FC (10:00PM on Field 3)

Anatolia FC
Anatolia looked like a different and worse team coming in from their 5-1 victory in week 1. They started the game short of great with the initial absence of tardy center forward, Osman Buttar, when Captain Zain Khilji fell to a hamstring injury to end his game and risk missing this week's matchup. It’s obvious to see the team relies too much on Zain’s control in the midfield and keeping him fit has been a serious concern. Nehad Shihab keeps the heart of Anatolia from halting with the constant threat of a shot on goal. The Canaries must utilize the talents of their entire team as the top 3 in yellow will get prioritized. We have also found that the Anatolians do not know how to break a huddle. Here is how it went: “Ok bring it in … 1! 2! 3! … wait, what are we saying? Whatever, just play”. Hasan Afzal made his debut as a midfielder and it seemed he was as nervous as his first grade 9 English presentation. Anatolia are level with Sham in the most goals for category and are known for their offensive potential. A lot of question marks surround what strategy the club will employ against a rising Andalusia.

Andalusia FC
The green and blue gave it all they could by applying all their resources to draw the knights of Hejaz and taking home a well-earned point. After their recent experience with substitutes against Hejaz, GM and Captain Farhan Karamat is relatively optimistic about his team's chances with so many absences to injury. Assistant GM Salman Rafay has withdrawn from the league without playing a game this season fallen to a pre-season strained ACL and are looking to pick up last week's super-sub Atiq Altaf off the waivers. The club released an abnormal injury list mid-week which included: Shaharyar Khan (lower body), Salman Rafay (lower body), Hassan Syed (upper body), Farhan Karamat (lower body), Omer Shakil (lower body) and Junaid Mirza (upper body), causing league officials to think Andalusia management is trying to gain sympathy from their opponents. Shaharyar Khan has taken his injury as an opportunity to make a quick trip to Makkah for Umrah (safe travels and keep us in your prayers, brother) for, amongst other things, some special zamzam treatment and emergency duas for the leaky Andalusian defense. On the other hand, Junaid Mirza has actively been in contact with Anatolian goalscorers and as BISL technicians attempted to intercept communication, the messages were encrypted with high-caliber encryption. The club seems to be operating under the cliché ‘do anything to win’ in order to overtake Anatolia in the standings and earn all 3 points this week. The recent form of both clubs depicts a result in favour of Andalusia.

Matchweek Three gets going this Sunday at 9PM - good luck to all!

Week 2 Recap

Game 1: Samarra FC - 2   |   Jerusalem FC - 1
On the other field, Samarra and Jerusalem were fighting to collect their first points of the young season in a back-and-forth affair. The Sky Blues started off the game dominating the ball, but once again had a crucial mistake lead to an early goal against. ‘Keeper Zahid Merchant made an errand pass that landed in the lap of Ali Mir, who put it away to put the redblacks up 1-0. Jerusalem leveled quickly after with Shaheen Limbada making a run down the left flank and setting up Saqib Dadabhoy for the easy finish. The match continued with Jerusalem dominating possession and Samarra poised to counter. The visitors took the lead on a goal by Numair Bari, who found himself wide open on the left flank and calmly slotted it past the keeper short-side. The leaders played defensive for the remainder of the match, and collected a much needed three points.

Man of the Match: Numair Bari - Click here to watch Player of the Game video

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

In a match between two teams coming off impressive wins in week one, it was Sham that came out on top. The Yellows suffered an early setback a few minutes in with Captain Zain Khilji suffering a hamstring injury that kept him off the pitch for the rest of the match. Shortly after the injury, Sham capitalized on a goal by Aazar Zafar assisted by Usman Aslam. Syed G Hussain netted a second for the tangerines before Osman Buttar got one back before half. A lot of credit goes to Sham keeper Yasser Zia keeping his men in the game and putting on a show against the constant threat of Anatolia strikers Buttar and Nehad Shihab. Youngster Ahmad Alvi added another to the Orangemen tally in the second half, before Nehad Shihab finally beat Zia to bring it back within one with less than five to play. Alvi added his second to put the nail in the coffin against the depleted yellows, who lacked the final product without their playmaker Khilji in the mix. The win put Sham at the top of the table, a great showing by them in the early season. 

Man of the Match: Ahmad Alvi 
Click here to watch Player of the Game video
Game 3: Andalusia FC - 4   |   Hejaz FC - 4
The nightcap was a high-scoring affair that ended in a draw. After putting up what he considered a “disappointing” start to his BISL campaign, Sameer Masood was ready to rock this week, netting two early goals to give Los Blancos the lead. Andalusia didn’t lose their focus after falling behind in the opening minutes, netting two goals of their own in succession by their Super Sub. The first half was an open match, with both teams getting chances that they couldn’t capitalize on. The second half continued as a back and forth affair. Andalusia went up 3-2 on another goal by Atiq, until Hejaz had a beautiful sequence that finished with Saif Syed setting up Humeid Masood to even the tie. Sameer Masood scored his third to put his boys up one, but substitute Atiq used his size, skill and strength to beat two defenders and slot home the game-tying goal. Hejaz kept the pressure on their opponents all match, but Junaid Mirza kept his boys in the game with some huge saves. On the other end, Andalusia also tested Hejaz in spurts, but couldn’t find a goal that would get them the full three points. The match ended in a draw that surely left both teams wanting more from the result.

Man of the Match: Junaid Mirza 
Click here to watch Player of the Game video

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.

Samarra FC  vs, Jerusalem FC (9:00PM on Field 3)
Samarra FC
Yikes. That wasn't pretty - who were the ten guys that showed up in black and red Sunday? It couldn't have been the Imad, Athar, Tausif and Jabbars we grew accustom to seeing last year, right? These guys were not up to par, and they'll be the first to admit it. A team with all so much talent, character, and class should not be putting on a performance like that. They looked out of sync, and appeared frustrated with and without the ball. Newcomer midfielders Numair Bari, Furhan Azmat and Usama Khan did NOT sign up for this. However, let's chalk it up to first game jitters and not enough time to gel. We know what clinical finishers Imad Siraj and Athar Siddiqui can put the ball in the back of the net; we know midfield engines Bari, Azmat and Khan provide support on both sides of the ball; and, we know that the Jabbar brothers can hold the fort down on the defensive end. So what gives? Was last week the floor of Samarra's potential on the season, or was it closer to their ceiling than we think? They need to figure it out fast, and the schedule doesn’t get much easier for them on Sunday - they face last year’s runners-up Jerusalem, a team that took all six points against them in the previous campaign. 

Jerusalem FC
The sky blues surely have a bad taste in their mouth after defeat to the same team that beat them in the Finals last year. A few lucky bounces here and there and we’d be singing a different tune today. However, losing a tight 1-0 affair isn’t the worst that could happen. Losing Yasser Zia in the draft left a huge gap between the sticks entering into the season, and GM Zahid Merchant took matters into his own hands – literally. Merchant may have the wingspan of an adolescent boy, but makes up for it with the heart of a lion and the reflexes of one as well. He impressed with the gloves on this past Sunday, but isn’t convinced that he is the long-term solution at the position. Shafeeq Ahmed played some ‘keeper for Hejaz last year, and will also get some time in net, but look for Merchant to likely stay in the crease this weekend. Jerusalem seemed to dedicate their opening match to injured striker Salim Jaichi, hitting numerous posts to reflect the poacher’s frequent run-ins with the iron last year leading the line (get well soon, Salim!) However, we’ve seen this before – Jerusalem lost their opener to Hejaz last year and went on an undefeated streak that nearly lasted the rest of the season. They’ll be out for some goals this Sunday versus Samarra. 
Anatolia FC vs. Sham FC (9:00PM on Field 4)
Anatolia FC
The Yellow Submarines had the brightest (get it?) start to the campaign with a 5-1 drubbing of Samarra. Zainedine Khilji was instrumental to the side’s offensive onslaught, making or setting up each goal on the night. First overall pick Osman Buttar looked lively and his athleticism and engine work rate will keep the Turks moving forward. Andalusia had a heartbreaking defeat in the semis, with the experienced Jerusalem tying the game in the dying seconds and going to win on penalties. That game motivated Khilji and his men to come out firing on all cylinders, and that they did. Defender Midfielder Forward Total Footballer Nehad Shihab was all over the pitch, as expected. The superstar makes his mark on both sides of the ball and plays a complete game that fits perfectly with what the captain is trying to build here. It’s only a week in, and you can chalk up some of their success to their competition (more on them shortly), but Anatolia look like the most in-form team this season. And we haven’t even gotten onto the defense. The backline led by the young but hungry Hamza Waheed played very well as a unit, providing the support and presence goalkeeper Asim Waheed hopes to see supporting him for the rest of the season. The Turks look to avenge their losses versus Sham FC from last year, and with the form they are in, they feel pretty good about their chances.   

Sham FC
Let's start this post off on a somber note: last year's number one overall pick, Faheem Kotwal, did not join the league this year due to a recurring injury. We speak for all BISL players when we say that it is terrible not seeing him suit up with the Orangemen, and Insha’Allah we look forward to seeing you on the pitch at 100 percent soon! You know who didn't miss Faheem as much as they thought they would? SHAM FC. Why, you ask? AAZAR ZAFAR. Zafar looked in tip-top form opening weekend, shaking off an injury in the first few minutes and commanding the frontline for his boys. You'd expect nothing less from the talisman, who, despite joining midway through the season, was one of the top goal scorers in the league. Omair Zuberi was thrilled with the outcome, and is even more excited at Yasser Zia being available for selection this Sunday. Last year's top keeper looks to be the fiery leader and big shot stopper we've come to know and love in the League, and hopes he, along with defensive savant Maaz Mohiuddin, can keep the tidy defensive displays coming en route the playoffs. They’ll need Zia and Maaz to be at their best this weekend against Anatolia, but history is on their side after completing the double against the yellows last year.

Andalusia FC vs. Hejaz FC (10:00PM on Field 3)

Andalusia FC
You'd think after suffering three 8 goal losses last year, these guys would break up and start from scratch, right? Right? Wrong. Captain Farhan Karamat brings back virtually the same side this season, which, to be honest, we can't even hate on. This group of guys is far better than the numbers from last year suggest, and play with a sense of familiarity you'd expect from a side that's played together for so long. Add in the dynamism of Hassan Syed and Rameez Siddiqi, and these guys should play more up to the caliber expected of them as a unit this year. In the opening week, flashes of the silky smooth chemistry of Karamat's boys appeared, but again, it was not enough. Of greatest concern should be the rollicking goalie Junaid Mirza takes week in, week out. Mirza led the league with six saves on opening day, and until his teammates close out shooters and protect their keeper from an onslaught, he's likely to keep that title. Speaking of shooting, Mohammad Mahmood took every opening available to him last week, taking seven shots and scoring the blues only goal on the night. Here's to hoping guys like Karamat, Shaharyar Khan, and Omar Shakil can add some firepower in the coming weeks to an offense that seems one-dimensional at the moment. This week, the Spaniards take on Hejaz, an opponent who outscored them 9-1 in their matchups last year – they’ll be looking to surprise the champs in week 2.
Hejaz FC 
With all eyes locked on Sameer Masood’s debut for the orange-and-white, it was younger brother Humeid who really stole the show. Masood was everywhere on the pitch, closing down defenders up top, keeping possession in the midfield, and scoring the only goal of the game. His energy and pressing set the tone for the Hejazis and allowed them to control the match in their opponent’s half. However, Humeid is doubtful this week with his exams coming up – we wish him the best. His older brother Sameer was “disappointed” with his performance on opening day, but is eagerly waiting for this weekend to come correct and prove early season critics of his true form. This is a welcome sign by the Hejaz management who know what he’s capable of, and we can expect the marksmen to play big in few days’ time. A lot of questions surrounded Hejaz’s defense coming into the season. Losing a defensive savant like Maaz Mohiuddin was sure to make an impact, but youngster Sheraz Choudhry has filled in admirably. ‘Raz was everywhere on Sunday, earning plaudits from his teammates for a solid performance at the back. He looks ready to step in and be a leader of the backline as los blancos continue their title defense against Andalusia this weekend.

Week 2 kicks off at 9pm on Sunday. 

Week 1 Recap

Game 1: Anatolia FC - 5   |   Samarra FC - 1
Anatolia FC started off their season with a vengeance with a lopsided 5-1 win over Samarra FC. Anatolia took the lead early in the match on a blast from Nehad Shihab to put AFC up 1-0. Zain Khilji would have a brilliant start to his 2015/16 campaign by adding 2 goals in quick succession to put the Yellows up 3-0. Imad Siraj would score on a penalty to get Samarra FC on the board but they were no match for Anatolia on this night. Samarra FC lacked build-up play from the middle of the field to feed their hungry forwards. Osman Buttar added his first goal of his BISL career and Nehad added a second to complete a 5-1 victory for Anatolia. Captain Khilji finished with 2 goals and 3 assists to reassure supporters of no lingering effects of an offseason injury. 

Man of the Match: Zain Khilji

Game 2: Sham FC - 3   |   Andalusia FC - 1

In an intense matchup of two sides looking to erase memories of last year, Sham and Andalusia battled to start their season off on the right foot. Andalusia FC started off just how they wanted with an early goal from Mohammad Mahmood to put them up 1-0. Andalusia looked much more composed in the match but Sham eventually found the holes in the Andalusia armour they were looking for. Aazar Zafar broke through the defence to tie up the match just before half time. Sham started the second half with Maaz Mohiuddin assisting Ahmad Alvi for his maiden goal to put Sham FC infront. They kept the pressure on and added another on a blast from Usman Aslam set up by Adeel Ansari. Sham would hold on for the victory but Andalusia had their chances with a few shots hitting iron. This was a tough loss for Andalusia after a great effort but they will need to get back to the drawing board to fix a few mistakes. Sham start off their season with a much needed win. 

Man of the Match: Ahmad Alvi
Game 3: Jerusalem FC - 0   |   Hejaz FC - 1
In the final matchup of the night, we had a rematch of last year's finals. Both teams looked evenly poised to start off their campaign and this match was a dandy. There were question marks about Jerusalem's goalkeeping coming into the game but those question marks have turned into exclamation marks (editor's note: this post was written by their goalkeeper). Both goalkeepers were fantastic in a tight affair. Jerusalem started off the match hitting the post twice on odd man rushes that could have turned the outcome of the match. Late in the first half, Jerusalem turned over the ball in their own end, and Saif Syed set up Humaid Masood for the lone goal on the night. Jerusalem continued their pressure and would hit the post a few more times. Hejaz used their same build up style from last year and had some good chances that they couldn't complete. Goalkeeper Zahid Merchant was welcomed in his first game between the posts with two shots straight at his head that had him ringing all night. Hejaz played brilliant defensively down the stretch en route to a clean sheet, holding Jerusalem scoreless for the first time in history. 

Man of the Match: Humeid Masood

(Players profile pictures will be uploaded during the week)

Week 1 Rumours

As we approach the beginning of Season 2, there is plenty of excitement and lots of questions to be answered about each of the teams. 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.   

Two transactions to announce from the first week:

Andalusia FC trade Yasser Zia to Sham FC for Junaid Mirza

Salim Jaichi, 4th round pick of Jerusalem FC withdraws due to injury. Jerusalem FC chose replacement player Ahmad Alvi but he was claimed off waivers by Sham FC. Jerusalem FC select Kamil Lotia (4th round) from Sham FC to complete waiver transaction

Anatolia FC  vs, Samarra FC (9:00PM on Field 3)
Anatolia FC
The yellow fellows are back after their heartbreaking shootout semi-final loss last year. GM Zain Khilji chose familiarity over talent again this year, but rightfully so, as his team was by far the most improved last year. They bring back essentially an unchanged team with two upgrades, family friends Osman Buttar and Ahmad Ammad. Osman could be a huge difference maker for the Turks this season after taking BSL by storm but can he translate his homeruns into goals? Ahmad is a muscular defender that will solidify the once shaky line of defence and could be detrimental to Anatolia’s style of play. The Waheed trio of Akif, Asim and Hamza return to bring glory to the club while speedster and youngling Hassan Mirza comes back with a year of experience under his belt. Bilal Javed and Hasan Afzal silently had solid rookie seasons and their presence will only grow as the team challenge for points. It’s no secret that the two game-breakers on this team are Zain Khilji and Nehad Shihab who scored or assisted on 29 of their 30 goals last season. They look to Osman Buttar to help ease the load on their top two and provide them with another offensive option. Anatolia lacked experience last time out but should be a much more poised team this year. Their weakness of letting through soft goals must be filled if they want to take the next step as a big club at BISL. The big question is, where will Nehad Shihab play this year? Last season he moved back to play defence and their offense suffered. Will Osman be the offensive weapon the team sorely needed last year? They take on Samarra FC in their opening matchup to begin their definitive explosive campaign.

Samarra FC
The men in black drafted to rebuild their team piece by piece and were effective in solidifying each position for club. GM Umer Jabbar screened each player for certain traits that compliment a high synergy style of play focusing on intangibles and chemistry. That is not to say this team is short on talent. Samara pick up the clinical Imad Siraj who scored 16 goals last season complementing Athar Siddiqui’s gunning style with prowess and efficiency. The most important player for Samara is Usama Khan who almost definitely will be the bridge between the black and red shirts. The club had no real playmaker last year and it showed with only 17 goals on the season. The new and speedy additions of Furhan Azmat and Numair Bari will grant more success in transition and the midfield for the team. Umair Jabbar will likely be Samara’s number 1 in goal as he finds the goalie position the best way to keep his hair gel intact for his endorsers while getting the maximum amount of playing time. GM Umer needs to intervene in order to get the best out of his brother Umair. The Samarian defense will consist of Tausif ‘hurricane’ Hussian and the muscular Ahmed Butt. Despite their off-the-pitch references they will be solid options to protect their keeper (and his hairdo). The Blacks picked up Ali Mir late in the draft and we are hearing their scouting department have found them a hidden talent that could surprise many. Samara still leaves doubts in the notes of critics and will have to prove themselves to gain any real standing in the league. Game 1 versus an explosive Anatolia squad could be just what they need.
Sham FC vs. Andalusia FC (9:00PM on Field 4)
Sham FC
After a disappointing first season, Sham FC comes back for a fresh start with a new squad. Only a few players from last year’s team returned to the league and GM Omair Zuberi had no reservations plucking out the best talent from other squads to rebuild his franchise. Sham started off by using their first overall pick on Aazar Zafar, reuniting him with Usman Aslam as their two strikers from last year. Both will be relied on heavily to carry the offense with no other pronounced forwards on their squad. They added two premier defenders in Maaz Mohiuddin and Arshad Choudhry to solidify their backline in combo with the goalie of the year, Yasser Zia. Omair was keen in sculpting a concrete wall for his team. The big question will be their bench and their ability to keep them in games. Riaz Murad joins Sham as the only other known forward for their squad. Sham has a few new players which we know very little about and could turn out to be their secret weapons. Adeel Ansari, Ahmad Alvi and Syed 'Da G' Hussain join the Orangemen for their rookie campaign and the club expects them to be solid additions to add pace to their lineup. Ahmad Alvi was claimed off waivers this week from Jerusalem yesterday. Omair has had a keen eye on the 18 year old prodigy since the try-outs last year. Can the team assembled by Sham come together as a group to challenge the bigger clubs? Can Usman and Aazar carry the offensive load for orange? They face off against Andalusia FC in week one in a battle of both teams that missed the playoffs last season. Both teams will have plenty to prove in the first week.  

Andalusia FC
After a long and bumpy last season, Andalusia FC will take the same trip in the same car with the same players, but this time, have brought along Rameez ‘Raja’ Siddiqi and Hassan Syed in the trunk. Similar to Anatolia, the club set out to bring back the former players in an attempt to utilize the chemistry they developed in the prior season. GM Farhan Karamat is a manager to be feared as he hustled his way through the draft with actions like changing the subject when GMs conversed about his players. The Karamat brothers went from a trio last year to a duo this year as Fahim was the only Karamat to accompany his brother. The team performed well below their potential last season, but contain a lot of offensive capacity. Salman Rafay, Shaharyar Khan, and Mohammad Mahmood will be the three players to look out for in front of goal as Hussain Abdulbasit and Farhan man the midfield. The club recognized that they were employing too many resources on defenses which caused an offensive deficit. The club hired the scouting services of Omar Shakil during the offseason to improve the club. In response the club signed proven defenders Rameez and Hassan to armour goalkeeper Junaid Mirza who came out with the most saves in the league. He is also an active politician. Reports indicate, Junaid has traces of illegal contracts with strikers in the league. BISL will be monitoring the situation going forward.  The team turned from green to blue to match their jerseys after just 2 games in the league last season. Can the players collectively decide a better fate for the club this season? 

Jerusalem FC vs. Hejaz FC (10:00PM on Field 3)

Jerusalem FC
Jerusalem FC welcomes back 6 of their core players for a chance at redemption after losing 3-4 in the finals last season. GM Zahid Merchant drafted a low-risk, high return team going for only known qualities and has put together on paper, the most well-rounded team in the league. However, the question agonizing their fans comes from the lack of a main goalkeeper. It seems Zahid may have to stand between the pipes for the big bad blue this season. Super strikers Shaheen Limbada and Saqib Dadabhoy are projected to continue their goal scoring success from last season as Taqi Ahmed threads passes through opponent lines. Defender Rizwan Merchant brings back a perfect mix of intensity and tactic and will lead Jerusalem from the back. Reports claim that Striker Salim Jaichi will be given an extra small jersey so it will be difficult to take off when celebrating a goal. That won’t be needed anymore now that Salim has been essentially replaced with Kamil Lotia. The newly blues Zeem Khan, Sohail Mohiuddin, Ayaz Sethi, and Syed Shafeeq Ahmed were brought in the fill in the holes Jerusalem retained from last season. Most notably, Zeem Khan could prove to be the super substitute and has the ability to increase the goal differential for his team. Jerusalem look like an unstoppable force but will show some cracks in their defence and build-up play. They look to get revenge in their opening match against Hejaz who defeated them in the finals last year.  
Hejaz FC 
The league champs have an immense task on their hands to defend their title from clubs that have grown so much in stature this season, but GM Ibrahim Sardar was aware of what he had to do to push for a league double. Sardar kept the Hejaz engine room with A K and Muhammad Shah while making renovations to the remaining units of the team, most notably, their defence. It’s seems their backline will consist of Saif Syed, Sheraz Choudhry, Adeel Sheikh, and of course, club sweet heart Hashim Ghazi. The club made record sales on Ghazi jerseys last season, which surely took a load off club finances when paying the salary of golden boot winner, Muhammed Shah. It seems Hejaz defences have weakened, but we are yet to see what Saif can bring to the pitch. The big talking point and hype for the white and bright Hejaz has been Sameer Masood who has proved to be a power player and a leader. Supporters around the league are worried that Sameer could turn out to be a league elite and carry Hejaz above the rest for a second time. The combination between him and Shah could be fatal to the score line in each fixture. The question still surrounds where Sameer will fit into the team. Younger brother, Humeid Masood plays in the shadows of his brother and comes to the team by referral rather than talent as no GM was familiar with his position or skill level. Raza Ali slots into the midfield as the ol’ warhorse and could bring distribution off the bench. With the loss of Imad and Zeem, will Humeid and Sameer be able to fill in those roles? As good as Hejaz is, every game will be battle and like any team game, each unit must work in sync to round off each performance. They face Jerusalem in a grudge match from last year’s final to begin the season.

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

2015 BISL Draft Results

The 2015 BISL Draft is complete but rumours has it that there are many trades in the works. The season starts November 29th inshaAllah. 

Registration Closed

Registration for Brotherhood Indoor Soccer League is now closed.