Weekend Guid

Weekend Guide 27.5.2016 - Oceania Special - Goodbye 2015/16!

Yes, it's the end of May, and it means that the Weekend Guide will take his break as the season is done. But don't worry, we would not leave you like this in empty hands - a special guide dedicated to the opening games of the first international tournament this summer – the OFC Nations Cup. All the matches will take place at Sir Johan Guise Stadium in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Game 1

What? New Zealand – Fiji

When? Saturday, 0800

Why? New Zealand, the dominant national team in Oceania since Australia left to the AFC, try to retain the title after their failure in the previous tournament. Fiji is one of the emerging powers in the continent, after qualifying to the 2015 U-20 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic tournament.

Key Players: In New Zealand squad you can find their hot prospect for the future, Bill Tuiloma, Marseille’s 21 years old midfielder who spent last season on loan to Strasbourg. Iosefo Verevou is just 20 years old but has enough international experience with two goals in the U-20 World Cup.

Pacific Touch:2015 OFC Champions League, the defender of Samoan champions, Lupe ole Soaga can't handle the Fijian runner-ups Ba and their striker Saula Waqa.

Game 2

What? Vanuatu – Solomon Islands

When? Saturday, 1100

Why? In 2004 OFC Nations Cup, Solomon Islands gained a surprising draw against Australia in the final game, which led them to the 2nd place ahead of New Zealand. Vanuatu's football is making a great progress, as their leading team Amicale qualified to the Champions League final twice in last few years. There is certainly a hope that the national team will do the same.

Key Players: Jean Kaltack scored 9 goals in 8 caps as Vanuatu international player, but he well remembered due to his enormous performance with 16 goals while winning 46:0 against Micronesia in the Pacific Games last year. Henry Fa'arodo playing for Solomon Islands since 2002 and he can't be stopped as he’s about to break the caps record for.

Pacific Touch: 2016 OFC Futsal Championship, in the last match against Fiji, the Solomon Islands showed to everyone why they are the Oceania champions 5 times by now.

Game 3

What? Papua New Guinea – New Caledonia

When? Sunday, 0800

Why? The host nation will try to show their skills and win an OFC Nations Cup match for the first time since 1980, under the guidance of the Danish manager Flemming Serritslev. New Caledonia still has memories from their sensational win against New Zealand in the last tournament semifinals.

Key Players: 21 years old Alwin Komolong played for all the youth level teams and is ready for his senior debut cap. He is the only player in his team playing abroad, as he plays for Northern Kentucky University team. As a French Oversea Department, New Caledonia have the midfielder César Zeoula, who plays since 2011 in Stade Lavallois of the French Ligue 2.

Pacific Touch: 2013 OFC U-17 Championship, it's not so common to see a Papua New Guinea victory, but Nicky Benjamin made his team dream a bit before conceding the equalizer.

Game 4

What? Tahiti – Samoa

When? Saturday, 1100

Why? Four years ago, Tahiti won a historical title, after defeating New Caledonia 1:0. Now they wish to have another sensational tournament. Samoa qualified through the first round, clinching their spot by goal difference over American Samoa and Cook Islands.

Key Players: The Tahitian veteran striker, Steevy Chong Hue, is still here and wants to score 4 goals in this tournament in order to become the national team all-time top scorer. Andrew Mobberly was the leading name in the first round for Samoa, as he also plays for the New Zealand top-tier side, Southern United.

Pacific Touch: 2015 OFC U-20 Women's Championship, Vanuatu leads 3:2 against Samoa, and then, in the 96th minute, Matalena Daniels took this free kick.

*

Thumbnail photo by Oceania Football Confederation (OFC)

Weekend Guide 5.12.2015

The weather is not a factor at the Weekend Guide, as we have some great matches from all over the globe in order to keep you warm - a relegation battle in Brazil; interesting names in Georgia; and historical issues in Iraq.

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like this goal)

What? Coritiba – Vasco da Gama (Campeonato Brasileirão)

When? Sunday, 2000

Where? Estádio Couto Pereira, Curitiba

Why? Vasco de Gama spent some time at the second division during the last seasons and they are trying to avoid their relegation once again. They are ranked 18th with 40 points, the same as the 17th place and a single point from the safe 16th place. Coritiba are in the 15th place with 43 points and only a crazy closure of multiples Goleadas can sink them down to the Serie B.

Key Players: Coritiba’ star is Henrique, who won the U-20 World Cup with Brazil alongside the Golden Boot and Golden Shoe. Vasco da Gama’s dominant player is Nenê, former Monaco and PSG player, who played for 12 years abroad.

Part of the History: Everyone knows that Pelé's 1,000th goal was an historical moment, but not many people know it was scored against Vasco. Edgardo Andrada was Vasco's goalkeeper in that match.

Professional (like this goal)

What? Dinamo Tbilisi – Sioni Bolnisi (Georgian Umaglesi Liga)

When? Sunday, 1100

Where? Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi

Why? The most glorious team in Georgian football history, Dinamo Tbilisi, didn't won a title in the last 4 seasons. Now they are in the top of the ladder with 34 points. Sioni Bolnisi is well-known team that can make troubles to any opponent and they are at the 3rd spot with 29 points.

Key Players: Sioni Bolnisi will try to stop Dinamo's players with Davit Svanidze, 36 years old defender that plays in the club since 2005. Dinamo Tbilisi's Giorgi Kvilitaia is one of the Georgian future prospects and the current top scorer of the league, with 10 goals.

Yes, Prime Minister: Kakha Kaladze is well remembered as AC Milan player, but in recent years he is a politician. Nowadays he is the Minister of Energy and the Prime Minister’s Deputy of Georgia.

World Class (like this goal)

What? Naft Al-Wasat – Al-Zawraa (Iraqi Premier League)

When? Monday, 1230

Where? An-Najaf Stadium, Najaf

Why? Naft Al-Wasat, the reigning Iraqi title holders, is in 2nd place of group A with 19 points, just one point behind Al-Zawraa. Al-Zawraa had few bad seasons in the past years, but still is the most crowned team in the league, with 12 championships.

Key Players: You can't talk about Naft Al-Wasat without saying the name of Noor Sabri, the veteran goalkeeper that was part from the legendary 2007 Iraqi Asian Cup winning squad. Alaa Abdul-Zahra, known as Iraqi Kaká, had long journey in Jordan, Iran, Qatar and Sudan, and now he is leading Al-Zawraa.

Perfect Debutants: Naft Al-Wasat won the title in their first ever season in the league. They are the second team to do so, after Al-Zawraa done the same in 1976.

Weekend Guide 28.11.2015

There are people who like to travel the world and to see new places; the Weekend Guide is here to make your travels even more interesting. This week we will visit the derby of Sofia, a high profile match in Qatar and finally, a glorious final in Africa.

Amateur (Like these dancers)

What? Levski Sofia – Slavia Sofia (Bulgarian A Football Group)

When? Sunday, 1645

Where? Georgi Asparuhov Stadium, Sofia

Why? The biggest team in Bulgaria, Levski Sofia, didn't win a title since 2009. They are currently leading the table after 16 matches. Slavia will try to hold them back, even though they are just on 5th place.

Key Players: Levski's Radoslav Tsonev is one of the hot prospects of Bulgarian football, as he just 20 years old and already have important role in the team. Don't miss Slavia's Ivaylo Dimitrov, who played for years in the lower divisions of Bulgaria and now he is a rising star in the league with 5 goals.

In the name of the Hero: Slavia is a common name for Eastern European clubs, but Levski is a unique one. The club named after Bulgaria national hero, Vasil Levski, who was one of the Bulgarian liberation movement leaders from the 19th century.

Professional (like this goal)

What? Al Rayyan – Al Jaish (Qatar Stars League)

When? Saturday, 1530

Where? Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan

Why? Al Rayyan opened the season with an insane record - 9 consecutive wins. Al Jaish will try to stop them and close the gap while they are in 2nd place, 4 points behind.

Key Players: The Qatari league always produces unstoppable scorers, and Al Rayyan has the Brazilian-Qatari of Japanese background Rodrigo Tabata, who scored 10 goals in 9 matches. Al Jaish has a much younger star than the 35 years old striker -  Abderrazak Hamdallah, 24 years old Moroccan who came in a free transfer from China, and scored 8 goals.

International Coach: Al Rayyan's manager, Jorge Fossati, won the Qatari title in 2007, after he triumphed at 3 other countries – Uruguay, Ecuador and Paraguay.

World Class (like these fans)

What? Étoile du Sahel – Orlando Pirates (CAF Confederation Cup)

When? Sunday, 1930

Where? Stade Olympique de Sousse, Sousse

Why? After a 1:1 tie in the first leg, the tension is high in the CAF Confederation Cup final. Étoile du Sahel won the tournament in 2006, and a year later won the CAF Champions League. They wish to continue the Tunisian dominance in the tournament with 5th title for their country. Orlando Pirates was the first South African club to win the CAF Champions League in 1995 and now they can be the first South African club to win the secondary club tournament in the continent.

Key Players: Aymen Mathlouthi is Étoile du Sahel goalkeeper since 2003 and one of the indispensable players of the club. In Orlando Pirates you should look at Thamsanqa Gabuza, the player who scored in the first leg, and has 5 more goals in the tournament, making him a real contender for the golden boot award.

Lost and Found: Orlando Pirates' all-time league top scorer Benedict Vilakazi played in some interesting clubs during the past years. He played in Swaziland, Botswana and his current club is Botswana Meat Commission F.C. Sounds like it is BBQ time!

Weekend Guide 20.11.2015

Finally the international break is over, and it's time to go back to some local league football. A small and sensational team in Poland, a great Colombian derby, and a ‘guest’ team in a chase for a title in Singapore.

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like this guy)

What? LKS Nieciecza – Piast Gliwice (Polish Ekstraklasa)

When? Friday, 1800

Where? Stadion Termaliki Bruk-Bet, Nieciecza

Why? Piast Gliwice never played the top tier before 2009 and they have a tremendous opening with 34 points in 15 matches, leading the table by 8 points. LKS Nieciecza is already making history, as they are ranked in the 9th place in their debut season.

Key Players: One of the interesting players in LKS Nieciecza is Wojciech Kędziora, who played in 3 clubs in the city of Gliwice and spent 10 years in Piast Gliwice. One of the guys to watch in Piast Gliwice is Radosław Murawski, a 21 years old home grown player and the team’s captain.

The Village People: LKS Nieciecza holds the European record for the smallest ever village to play in first division with 750 inhabitants. The previous record was held by the Cezch club Chmel Blšany with 900 people in the village.

Professional (like this commentator)

What? Millonarios – Independiente Santa Fe (Colombian Categoría Primera A)

When? Sunday, 2300

Where? Estadio El Campín, Bogotá

Why? There is nothing more exciting than a derby at the decisive moments of the season.

El Clásico Capitalino (Bogotáno) between Millonarios and Independiente Santa Fe.

Key Players: Millonarios top gun is Rafael Robayo, one of the biggest legends in the club’s history with 384 appearances since 2005. At Santa Fe’ squad you can find Luis Manuel Seijas, a Venezuelan international midfielder who returned to the club after years in Belgium and Ecuador.

Foreign Dominance: From 1948 to 1987, during the first 40 seasons of the Colombian league, only one Colombian player was named as a seasonal top scorer. In 34 out of these 40 season, the top scorer was Argentine. Scenes.

World Class (like this fans)

What? Brunei DPMM – Balestier Khalsa (Singapore S. League)

When? Saturday, 1315

Where? Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium, Bandar Seri Begawan

Why? It's the last matchday in Sinapore and Brunei DPMM are one step away from their first ever title. The team, who previously played at their own national league and the Malaysian league, is now leading the Singaporean league by 2 points. Balestier Khalsa is just trying to finish the league with a decent result.

Key Players: Brunei DPMM leader is Rafael Ramazotti, a Brazilian striker and the league top scorer with 20 goals. Belastier’s goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam, one of the most dominant players in the team, is also an interesting figure.

Be Our Guests: Except from Brunei DPMM, the S. League has a lot of guest teams. At the moment there are Japanese side Albirex Niigata and the U-23 national teams of Singapore and Malaysia. In the past there were also Korean, Chinese teams, and even a French team.