Tahiti

Weekend Guide 19.3.15

One weekend, three games, Worldwide. All the information.

Barcelona against Real Madrid? Definitely not!
BabaGol’s weekend recap offers you some real and rare football, which will make you doubt what you have in mind about the beautiful game. We will take a trip to the pacific with the race for the title in Tahiti, we will be with another disputed region in former Soviet Union, and we’ll visit the Sheikhs of Saudi Arabia. Vamos!

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Sunday, 0630, Pirae – Tefana (Tahiti Ligue 1)
Let's start our weekly tour at the island of Tahiti. This weekend, it is the last match day of the league and Pirae and Tefana will be the main event.

Tefana is leading the table with 35 points, and Pirae are just two points behind, as both teams are fighting for the title. Pirae are the current champions. After last year's title, the team has reached the semifinals of the OFC Champions League and was eliminated by Auckland City. Their Manager is Samuel Garcia, local former player who made 19 caps for the national team and spent his first years as a coach in Indonesia. The biggest name of Pirae is Raimana Li Fung Kuee, the league’s top scorer this season with 30 goals. Other players that should be noticed are Naea Bennett, who plays for the team since 2002, and Marama Vahirua, who played 15 years in French top divisions, before he signed at his hometown club.

If Tefana will win the title, it will be their only fourth title. Their manager, Sébastien Labayen, is a former Tefana player who was part of the winning squad in their last two national titles. The team has more players which were part of their successes. Among them you could find Steevy Chong Hue, who scored the winning goal in 2012 OFC Nations Cup final, Jonathan Tehau, who scored the only goal of Tahiti in the 2013 Confederation Cup, and Alvin Tehau, who was one of the key players of the U-20 national team during the World Cup in 2009.

You are in one of the most beautiful places in the world, now it's the time to enjoy some football.

Sunday, 1200, FC Tskhinvali – Dinamo Batumi (Georgian Umaglesi Liga)
Last week we were in Donetsk, and now we will be in another city that is the center of conflict with Russia – Tskhinvali, Georgia. The city is located in the disputed region of South Ossetia. Since the war in South Ossetia in 2008, Tskhinvali plays their home matches in the capital, Tbilisi. The situation doesn’t seem to change soon, as Russia signed a new pact that almost completes the annexation of the region. FC Tskhinvali is currently ranked in the 5th place, 5 points from a Europa League spot. The war in South Ossetia made the club to dissolve and re-establish the team under a new name, as the old one was considered as a Russian name – Spartaki Tskhinvali. Their manager, Kakhaber Kacharava, made a long journey as a player in the lower leagues of Germany, but still had an impressive record. In the squad you can find Giorgi Ivanishvili, who played for five years in Switzerland and came back to Georgia last year, Revaz Kemoklidze, 36 years old player who played for his tenth team in Georgia, and Giorgi Nadiradze, the U-21 Georgia national team goalkeeper.

Dinamo Batumi is one of the biggest sensations of the season. They are just two points behind the leaders, Dinamo Tbilisi, and they feel that winning the title for their first time, is possible. Dinamo Batumi spent last season in the second division and they have no home stadium, because there is no stadium in Batumi that meet the league requirements. Their leading players are Amiran Mujiri, who played in Israel, Bulgaria and Azerbaijan, Teimuraz Shonia, who played in the last four years in Tskhinvali, and Irakli Chirikashvili, who came from the Swiss team Neuchâtel Xamax last season and was one of the key players of the club’s promotion.

Two teams with no home ground, but with big hope for the later stages of the season, that’s exactly what we call a top match.

Sunday, 1855, Al-Nassr – Al-Ahli (Saudi Professional League)
The hot climate of Saudi Arabia is almost here, it means the Saudi league is now at its last and decisive phase. Matchday no. 20 will be the one who could determine who will be the champions, as there are 6 matches left, the head-to-head battle of the two leaders, Al-Nassr and Al-Ahli will be the highlight of the day.

Al-Nassr is the reigning champion. The most successful team in the history of the Saudi league with 15 domestic titles, made great runs in the Asian tournaments, such as winning the Asian Cup Winners Cup title in 1998. This season they want to complete their second consecutive title, as they are leading the table with 48 points and a record of 15 wins, 3 draws and a single defeat. One of the biggest names t in the team is actually the goalkeeping coach, the legendary Colombian goalkeeper, René Higuita, who is part of the team since 2012. Pay attention to Fabián Estoyanoff, who played in Spain and Greece, Adrian Mierzejewski, who was key player in Trabzonspor in the last four years, Hussein Al Sulaimani, who played for the Saudi national team in three World Cups (1998, 2002 and 2006), and Mohammad Al-Sahlawi, the team top scorer with 15 goals in 17 matches.

Al-Ahli could be disappointed if they will fail to win the title. They are in the 2nd place, 5 points from Al-Nassr, but they didn't lose this season (12 wins and 7 draws). The team didn't won the title since 1984, when their manager was the Brazilian Telê Santana. This season they already won the Saudi Crown Prince Cup title, winning 2:1 against Al-Hilal. The top players are Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, who won the African Cup of Nations in 2010 with Egypt, Osama Hawsawi, who made 107 appearances for the Saudi national team, and Omar Al Soma, a Syrian player who scored 18 goals in 17 matches what makes him the league top scorer.

A team who won the title for many times, the other already forgot their last one. This match is a jackpot. No doubt.