While the Farmer Bunnies and Grilled Birds were the top two local finishers in this edition of the Supporter Week Trophy - at 1135th and 2644th out of 22050 participants respectively - it could hardly be accounted as a notable achievement by either club, who have already turned their sights to the upcoming season.
With a knockout stage entry essentially impossible, there was little weighing on Grilled Birds as they took on Finnish III.4 former Suomen Joutsen-haastajacup holders FC Stadin Kingit, whose usual tight game didn't work out against Grilled's full-spectrum offence. Egan and Kalki struck early, before Cyril Künzler
supplied a headed goal, and then a corner for Heng Dong Chu
late. The opponents had a few promising counterattacks, but Gilbert Webb
was there each time.
Tanzanian Premier League challengers Zanzibar Devils were drawn against Grilled next, and their famous yellow shirts soon lived up to their legacy of two national cups. Their main executor would be living icon Fred Mwanyika, whose sweeper position was no obstacle to a hat-trick - if aided by a soft penalty. Spanish expat forward Song Bingyi would also showcase his technical skills, in a 5-1 thrashing.
The Birds' tourney then ended with a four-all draw against former Smaragden Beker winners Karbo Kings of the Dutch third division, who rallied magnificently from 1-3 down, to threaten a win. It took Kalki Parvathaneni
's impressive surge from the right to fend off their impetus, and supersub Vikram Mudaliar
narrowly missed a last-minue golden opportunity, from Chan Ze Han
's sneaky pass.
Farmer Bunnies clung on to the shadow of a hope for qualification, and risked as little as they could against Boca Athletik Klub (German Division Five) and A. Pelota de trapo (Bolivian Liga Profesional del Fútbol Boliviano) in turn; the Buns were rewarded with full points, as Christophe Fouche
and then Tham Leng Teck
pulled late winners each time.
Alas, even victory against former Finnish cupwinners EL KROPPA would not have been enough, and they would eventually fall 4-2 despite fine breakaway strikes by forwards Mushtag Al-Nameeri
and Ibrahim Zahran Al-Maashany
. Still, head coach Dalibor Kostadinović
remained pleased about the mental fortitude on show, in their previous wins. "We forced them to play to our strengths - let's aim to do that in the S-League too."
Grilled International would finish an average 14787th on a 2-6-2 record, which was reflected by their final-day results. Spanish Division Seven club UTQ Oficial were first up, and acquitted themselves relatively respectably, with only Tibor Atzenhain
's inventive goal separating the sides up till the 80th minute. Safari bin Hj Jali
and Didi Reidenbach
would then add some gloss from dead ball situations, for a 3-0 final score.
Next was another prolonged siege of an entrenched team, with Cameroon III.3 champs RC Kumba Lyons on the other side this time. Their failure to watch Sazwan bin Hj Muhd Salleh
closely in the 19th minute resulted in a graceful chip by the stand-in defender, and Safari bin Hj Jali
nearly embarassed Aloys Bassamagne from distance, a bit later. Lyons kept their heads, and trainee Mbilla Leuko would earn them a draw with an effective late counter.
Argentine Division Six outfit CSyD Axulfe Jrs would then overturn a 3-0 International lead to take it 4-3, a turn of events that skipper Didi Reidenbach
really, really didn't like. "Too many of our players got complacent." he complained. "It might not matter now, but it's a very bad habit to start."