There were worrying signs for Grilled Birds' near future, as the team trudged through an indifferent first day in the Supporter Week Trophy tournament, garnering two wins - one of them a walkover - and two losses. All appeared well when they faced South African H.I. IV.27 side Rutbeek Springboks FC in the first round, as the Cape Towners were put down by two Chan Ze Han
specials in just 17 minutes. Chu, Kamel, Douglas and Kalki would also get in on the scoring for a 6-0 win, with the Springboks barely scrabbling together a couple of half-chances.
It would get bad against just-promoted Polish second division club Vistula Kraków, as their big French striker Samuel Loury would bully his way to a hat-trick against Panigrahi and Douglas, with neither knowing quite what to do with him. Actually, the Birds were not short of opportunities by any means themselves, but Nicaraguan international goalkeeper Randolfo Bañuelos would stop everything thrown at him, but Abd Hadi Taib Mazhud
's 21st minute tap-in.
The Birds enjoyed a walkover versus ZVC Toerist of the Belgian Division Six next, only to then fall 1-4 to three-time Spanish Primera champions, A.E.M Reloaded. They might be in the third division for now, but young player-coach Alfonso Currachino definitely knew the club's winning traditions. He would contribute one himself in the 32nd minute, as Grilled's strong start - marked by Kalki Parvathaneni
's early magic chip - petered out quickly.
's refusal to comment only brought more speculation about the club's direction. "Are we deliberately tanking?" disgruntled supporter Tan Choong Seng asked. "Because it would just be good to know."
This was still much better than what Farmer Bunnies managed, however, as the hapless Buns ate a duck egg throughout, suffering four defeats and six goals against them, with none scored. Italian fifth divisioners Zemanlandia_FC led with a 3-0 off a Paolo Barruffi brace, and single-goal victories by Alemannia Apfel (German Division Six), FC Debesu Zvani (Latvian Division Six, former Lubāna kauss winners) and Rumstse SK (Belgian Division Six) followed.
Bunnies followers found it difficult to fault Vitaliy Efendiev
, who ran his heart out in all these games, but it was painfully clear that the support simply wasn't there. Mushtag Al-Nameeri
and Ibrahim Zahran Al-Maashany
might have been terrors in their time, but their previous pace had mostly gone. "Yeah, we are in transition." former Italian youth international Billy Camperio
would remind. "It's not pretty."
The best record, then, would surprisingly belong to Grilled International, who went undefeated with three wins and a draw. The draw came first, against Trinidad & Tobago II.3 club magog, also former national Consolation Cup winners. Safari bin Hj Jali
and Osertz Indurain
had it 2-0 by the eighth minute, but Paul Marroquín wasn't about to let International run away with it, and put in a technically-immaculate chip to reduce. Stefan Baltić then got it level, in a relatively-dull second half.
International then enjoyed a walkover against Swiss Division Six competitors Rot-Weiss Schaffhausen, which led into a banner performance by Wang Hanxuan
against Dutch Division Six toilers FC Hobbit'04; the veteran midfielder would score two and make two, in a 5-2 truimph. They would then end the day on another 5-2, this one against German V.65 side 3EHUT Sandhausen, that saw Hardi bin Besar
take over with a hat-trick.