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2013 UFL Season
March 11, 2013 | Share
The 2013 UFL season is underway with a new stadium, a new TV deal, and a new look Nomads team. The past two years have seen the top domestic league of the Philippines grow in stature and prestige, mirroring the rise of the national team’s success and popularity. Emperador Stadium, a new purpose built football facility located in Mckinley Hill will play host to this season’s games, with the UFL deciding that the league needed a home of its own. The state of the art Max S 60 mm artificial turf should help create a slick passing game for fans to enjoy in the stands or at home as 2 games will be broadcast on AKTV on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5.15 and 7.30.
Global look to defend their title but there will certainly be challengers for the throne. Loyola Meralco Sparks demonstrated their ability to compete with top sides after a strong showing in the Singapore Cup, Stallions Sta. Lucia impressed by winning the 2012 UFL cup, and last season’s runners up Kaya will be throwing their hat into the mix.
After gaining promotion in 2011, Nomads debuted in the top flight with a respectable 7th placed finish to their 2012 campaign. However, after a disappointing performance in the UFL cup lead to the resignation of Nomad’s coach Mic Denison, Nomads realised that this league would be tougher than ever before as other teams had notably strengthened. John Jofre, former player/manager of Shanghai Shooters and scout for Motherwell was appointed manager shortly before the season, and with the help of new assistant Alisdair Thomson, the Scottish pair aim to take Nomads to the next level.
There’s no doubt there’s a lot of ability in the squad, and Mic Denison did a fantastic job last year getting Nomads to 7th place in their first year in the UFL Division 1.
My short term goal is to solidify Nomads as a 1st Division club, and my long term goal is to win the 1st Division. I am very excited about this challenge, and I can’t wait for the season to get started” -John Jofre.
The team’s management lead by Nichie Severino and Jeff Blake undertook a successful recruitment drive that yielded the most talented crop of Nomad’s players to date. The additions of Frenchmen Bafio Magassa, Adrian Semblat, and Camille Cremet have brought the number of French players to six (6). However, the culture stops there with Sleaford couple Phil Connolly and Steven Borill, together with Valley boyo Danny Williams set to play a large part in any success of Légion étrangère.
Other additions include Merville resident and former Stallions player Selu Lozano, Londoner Andrew Sam, and 17 year old ISM student James Woldring.
Nomads will continue to be captained by long time servant Randy Musters, who together with Dutch compatriot and arguably the league’s best goalkeeper Friso Klok providing the backbone of the team. With a stronger team than last season, but and undoubtedly tougher league, it’ll be interesting to see how Jofre’s cosmopolitan side fairs. The additional quality in the team suggests that Nomads will not be dragged into a relegation battle, and if the team can find their feet in the first few games on the artificial turf, don’t be surprised to see the team finish the season in the top half of the league.
Nomads 1-0 Airforce
Nomads got their 2013 campaign underway with a 1-0 win against 2011 champions Air Force in the first game played at Emperador Stadium, McKinley Hill. In new manager John Jofre’s first regular season game in charge, Nomads looked comfortable on the artificial turf and would have been disappointed not to have gone into the break with a lead. Both Fidels Nnabuife and Loic Toullec had opportunities from inside the box and Steven Borrill fired over with a difficult volley.
Air Force came back into the game in the second half as Nomads began to tire, however once Jofre used Nomads’ strength in depth to freshen up the team, the Melville side were able to break the deadlock as 17 year old debutant James Woldring found space on the corner of the box and fired a left foot shot past the Airforce goalkeeper.
Nomads came close to doubling their lead with Borrill heading Jonathan Atangana’s cross just wide of the post and Louis Ohlendorff finding the net, only for it to be ruled offside.
The one goal turned out to be enough for the three points as Air Force were unable to break down the Nomads defence which was marshalled well by stand in goalkeeper Phil Connolly.
Nomads 1-2 Global
Nomads faced defending champions Global on valentine’s evening in a game demonstrating no love lost between the sides as Nomads looked to avenge their 2-1 defeat in the Smart Cup. Nomads got off to a disastrous start conceding within 5 minutes, however heads didn’t drop with Jofre’s side repelling Global’s attacks and getting a break just before half time when Nnabuife crashed home Figo El Habib’s knock down.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first with Nomads conceding early with defender Bafio Magsassa putting the ball into his own net after misjudging a cross.
With strong challenges flying in from both sides, things went from bad to worse for Nomads as El Habib was sent off on the hour mark.
However, Friso Klok exemplified the team’s belief that they could salvage a point if they kept the deficit to one goal, as he made several saves of the highest quality to keep Nomads in the game. Even with a Numerical advantage, Global finished the game on the back foot with Magsassa coming close to making amends for his earlier mistake with a narrowly missed free kick and Loic Toullec blasting over after Global failed deal with a free kick delivered into the box. In the end Nomads effort and endeavour was to no avail the defending champions held for a narrow victory.
Nomads 0-0 Kaya
Even with a depleted team through suspensions and work commitments, early results suggested Nomads had every chance to beat last season’s runners up for the first time in 3 years. Kaya looked shaky at the back and Nomads had opportunities early in the game with Magsassa heading over and Woldring firing wide. However, as early injuries further weakened the Merville side, Kaya enjoyed more possession and created some chances but were unable to find the net.
Neither side was able to create clear cut chances early in the second half, and after some resolute defending from Nomads, and Kaya’s belief that a goal would come waning, Jofre’s side found themselves in the ascendancy with Mikael Cardosa firing over and Steven Borill narrowly missing with a free kick.
Nomads had the opportunity to push for all 3 points as Kaya were reduced to 10 men; however, they were unable to make the extra man count and their numerical advantage was wasted as Jonathan Atangana saw red for a second booking. Nomads had the best chance to win the game after good work from Jason Arroyo led to Phil Connolly teeing up Randy Musters from 15 yards out, but the Nomads captain’s curled effort sailed harmlessly over the bar.
After a game in which both sides longed for their shooting boots, Nomads would see this as a missed opportunity to establish themselves as contenders for the league’s top spots. However, the fact that the side was disappointed to only draw a game against last season’s runners up demonstrates the improvements made by the Nomads. -Sam Fogg
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