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Football teams, fans wait patiently as season stalls

Players and fans have had to do without local football the last two weekends as restrictions have been put in place in response to a recent surge in Covid-19 cases. Pictured is a recent match between North Village and Devonshire Colts at Bernard Park. (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

The crowds this season have been smaller than last term because of the Covid-19 pandemic, now players and fans are left wondering just what can be salvaged from a season still not at its halfway stage.

The last two rounds of league matches, which would taken the league fixtures to the halfway point, have been postponed following a recent spike in Covid-19 cases,. A third weekend of no action will come next weekend as restrictions aren’t expected to be eased until December 22, meaning there will be no Friendship Trophy quarter-finals next Sunday.

Another postponement would make it difficult for the Bermuda Football Association to tackle the backlog of matches as there is only one ground, Goose Gosling Field, with working lights to accommodate night matches.

North Village, who will have to replay their recent abandoned match with Somerset Eagles, have three games to be rescheduled in the league as they bid to defend the league title they won last year. They never got the chance to complete the Double last season because their FA Cup final against Robin Hood was cancelled in April because of Covid.

“We’re all in the same boat, really,, whether it’s football, any other sport or business,” said Kenny Thompson, the Village coach. “It’s impacted our every day lives, and we’re no worst off than anyone else.

“It’s difficult at this time to predict how long we’re going to be in this particular space, which also makes it difficult to get any type of preparation going. We haven’t trained since we played PHC, the point when the current guidelines came into play.

“Originally it was groups of 20, now it’s groups of ten, so at the moment we’re just adopting a wait-and-see approach. Ultimately it’s bigger than football, so we just have to wait and see and try to get up to speed as quickly as possible once things settle.”

Thompson landed a first Premier Division league title as a coach on a Thursday night in March with two games remaining after his former team, Somerset Eagles, held title challengers Dandy Town to a 2-2 draw.

It was Thompson’s first season back at the club, quickly turning them into champions for the ninth time after an eighth place finish in the previous season.

Fast forward nine months and the pandemic is impacting everyday lives again, football included, this time with more than half the season remaining. “We’re just abiding by the guidelines and protocols and hopefully through that the cases can ease and we can return to some sort of new normalcy,” Thompson said.

“We just have to do our part as a community, it’s about keeping everybody safe. We don’t have any answers. At this time I’m not trying to gain any answers other than what we’ve been told.

“We just have to ride out this period and see where we are in a few weeks.”

December was to be a busy month in local football with the Expansion League Festive Tournament set to run from December 2 to January 2 . The Friendship Trophy and Shield competitions would have entered their quarter-final stages on December 20 with the finals set for New Year’s Day.

The Bermuda Schools Sports Federations’s knockout finals were postponed on the weekend while the Corona League, which still has not started, could be delayed further as all their matches are played at Goose Gosling Field, the only ground with lights to host night matches.

Two Corona League teams, Tuff Dogs and Footy Kings, are through to the first round of the FA Cup, which is scheduled for the weekend of January 16 and 17, pandemic permitting.

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Published December 16, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 15, 2020 at 11:10 pm)

Football teams, fans wait patiently as season stalls

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