El Karfa refuses to concede title challenge
X-Roads are fading out of the title race after a five-game winless run, but coach Farid El Karfa insists that anything can happen in the final six league games.
X-Roads have already surpassed the 20 points they collected in their first season in the Premier Division last term, and look certain to improve on last season’s eighth-place finish.
However, failure to win in the league since November 4, when they hammered Dandy Town 6-0, has left them nine points behind leaders PHC and six behind Robin Hood in what is becoming a familiar two-team title race.
El Karfa still thinks otherwise.
“I would not say we are out of the race for sure, there are still a few matches to go and mathematically it is still on, anything could happen” El Karfa said.
X-Roads, will be aiming to return to winning ways against Boulevard tomorrow, in a match that has been switched from St David’s Field to Bernard Park, due to the funeral of club member George O’Brien, a former goalkeeper, referee and match commissioner.
X-Roads have drawn four of their past five games against Paget, Somerset, North Village and BAA, while losing to Robin Hood in their final match before the Christmas break.
“We were unfortunate to drop points in the last few games,” El Karfa added.
“Winning the league is way more difficult at this point, but we’re not dropping the challenge.
“You know football, any team at any point can have a bad spell.”
One thing that has remained consistent for X-Roads is the scoring form of Donavan Thompson, who is the league’s top scorer with 19 goals after scoring in each of his team’s first ten league games. His manager is confident his frontman will become the first player this season to reach the 20-goal landmark.
“I’m quite sure he will surpass that mark,” El Karfa added.
“He has been consistent, been motivated and the team is healthy, so I see no problem why he shouldn’t score more goals,”
Meanwhile, Robin Hood have the chance to move level on 31 points with PHC at the top of the table when they meet Paget tonight at Goose Gosling Field (9.00).
Tomorrow PHC meet unpredictable BAA, who are seven points clear of the relegation zone in their first season back in the top flight. Cougars play Dandy Town at Devonshire Rec tomorrow, while bottom team Somerset are at home to North Village.
In the First Division, leaders Southampton Rangers play Devonshire Colts at Police Field, Somerset Eagles, second, are at home to Wolves and Hamilton Parish take on Flanagan’s Onions at Wellington Oval.
Ireland Rangers host St George’s at Malabar Field, while Vasco meet St David’s today at Bernard Park (3.00).
n The FA Cup quarter-final and Expansion Knockout Cup draws will take place on Monday at the Clyde Best Centre of Excellence at noon.
Both Southampton and St David’s will go into the draw, as no decision has been made on the appeal launched by Rangers after they were stripped of a 4-2 win over St David’s for fielding a player who was not on the teamsheet.