Contenders for National 5-a-side
Certainly 'talking the talk' this year and obviously consider themselves amongst the favourites. There is not much substance to this, as they have not even reached the final of the competition for at least the last three years! Bradford will probably enter more than one team with only one of them (Chymera's and co) having any realistic chance of winning the competition. Progressing beyond the group stage should be their first aim and then after that, who knows.
Likely to enter more than one team, with only one of them being classed as realistic challengers. They have a good crop of young players including Andrei Michaluk and the Sopel brothers, in their late teens/early twenty's who improve every year and also play together for their 11-a-side team 'Manchester Dynamo'. A lack of experience and strength could be their downfall, although a good group draw could see them progress.
Any team with Bohdan Semehen in, will be a threat. They gave Nottingham a scare in the final two years ago, but didn't manage to hold on to an early lead. They are always full of goals but sometimes vulnerable at the back. Roman Conrad, in goal, is always an enigma in this competition and pulls off great saves when you least expect him to make them. Stockport will definitely be challenging for top honours this year.
Semi-finalists in their inaugural entry last year and they will be looking to repeat that feat this year. Missing guest players Mark Howansky and Roman Lenio will be a blow to them, but the return of Ally Urquhart and Alex Demianczuk pulling the strings they should be able to hold their own. Their 'braveheart' spirit and never say die attitude could make them this years dark horses.
Usually a team of newcomers from Ukraine, often consisting of younger enthusiastic players and older former professionals from the homeland. They are technically sound and skilful and won the tournament five years. Poor discipline often lets them down whether it be though having men carded or losing their shape and concentration. Finalists last year, they will be looking for a similar performance this time round.
Winners for the past two years and with the same team again this year, including last years 'player of the tournament', goalkeeper Mark Clough, they have to be amongst the favourites. A team that have played 5-a-side together for a number of years in this tournament as well as playing together week-in, week-out for Trident FC. They are the only team with a 'Plast' background, their brand exciting, attacking, free-scoring football has won them respect and admirers over the years. They will once again be the team to beat .
Other teams likely to enter are Ashton, Gloucester, Rochdale, Derby and Wolverhampton. These teams are often made up of players that are either too old or too young to win the competition. Hopefully one of them could surprise us all and challenge this year.
Itís yet again sure to be an interesting competition. For details on how to enter the competition see details below.
ContributIon by Taras Postolan