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Week 1 Rumours

 

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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