SFV SO FAR
From the first kick of a Series Futsal ball the SFV world has been on edge with intense narratives and mouth-watering drama pursuing ever since.
We have now completed nine weeks away from Futsal Oz Thomastown and although the return to Brunswick contained levels of unpredictability, nobody expected the first half of the season to unravel as it did.
It was the opening match against Altona where we realised Pascoe Vale weren’t entirely down and out, as Paul Vidic mustered a squad together formidable enough to defeat the weaker sides in Altona Knights, Ashburton and Regent.
"It just depends how we go from game to game - mid-table is between 4-5 teams. We still have one game in hand against Vic Friendship", said Joao Da Silva.
Although the Lions would fall to giants Moreland, Fitzroy and Campbellfield, they have solidified themselves as mid-table competitors but could face adversity due to over-reliance of legend Joao Da Silva, who has been one of the leagues standout players throughout the season. This became evident in the Lions’ round 10 loss to Altona after the lack of goal threatening outlets for Pascoe Vale worked in the Knights’ favour. Pascoe Vale now sit 7th on the ladder.
At the moment though Pascoe Vale and Regent will focus on getting away from the relegation zone as they are the two closest teams to the bottom three.
Regent have overperformed though and may experience even more success as they look to maintain their reputation of being the most stubborn and unorthodox team in the entire division.
It’s underperformers Altona and Friendship that will see themselves battling relegation throughout the latter half of the season as they have so far failed to overcome the odds with Ashburton sitting below both of them on zero points.
Considering their places on the ladder, both Altona and Friendship have reputations of being tough to handle opponents for any side in the league and certainly have the fire-power to climb into the mid-table pool.
The Western Wolves sit just inside the upper eschelon of the table with star-striker Alison ‘Ice Cold’ Lima truly finding his form in the league alongside Brazilian parallel Mauricio Novak and youngster Abed Chandab who are also hitting new heights in their respective futsal careers.
Omar Chandab has assembled a team of gritty fighters who are guaranteed to make any of their opponents lives as hard as possible, nevertheless their negative goal difference whilst remaining just out of the top four have made them a suspicious side.
When discussing suspicious sides, it is necessary to outline Carlton Heart’s questionable nature as they began the season looking like one of the weaker sides in the division.
After scraping uninspiring victories over Ashburton and Regent in the opening rounds, the Hearts had spectators questioning their ability to maintain positive form throughout the season.
Despite the doubters, Chaaban Rajab’s men have fought hard throughout the season to still be in contention for the league title, but it is important to note that amongst their six victories, the man of the match award was given to goalkeeper Mazen Abdallah three times.
Moreland may be equal with Carlton, but there may be a sizeable gap in quality between the Champions and their two counterparts. The Blues’ 9-1 victory over the previously undefeated Campbellfield has now beckoned the question, who are the real title favourites?
The 2019/20 champions may have needed some matches to gel as new signing Kevin Dos Santos was thrown into the mix, but the ‘Dee-man’ and his men have shown nothing but solidarity after their tough round 5 victory over the Altona Knights.
As long as the Moreland players keep their focus and avoid the overcome the odd adversities that come with being a top Series Futsal Victoria side, they should maintain their push for the title until the end of the season.
To do this though, they must rely on a slip-up for serial winners Fitzroy FC and Campbellfield FC as both sides have come close to dropping points throughout the season, but have only managed one loss each.
As they both sit equal at the top of the ladder, separated only by goal-difference, Fitzroy appear to be the side with the chemistry amongst their players, but it’s Campbellfield who boast the attacking prowess that the Tigers perhaps cannot match.
Fitzroy’s threat being considered, it was only in round 5 where Campbellfield impressively defeated their counterparts and momentarily pulled away from them on the ladder, but their marginal defeat to Moreland brought their flawless start to the season to an immediate halt.
Lapses in concentration, injuries and over-reliance on star forward Sofiane Soufi could fault Campbellfield, but with the form the French-men is in, there’s no doubting that he may be able to drag his side to their first title.
When considering the outcome of the league and where the title may go home to, there is still no telling who will take home the coveted M.V.P award.
Statistics suggest that Atay Ibrahim and Sofiane Soufi are leading the race but a late-push from the in-form Chaaban Rajab is certainly in the midst whilst Joao Da Silva has overperformed to a great extent considering the state of Pascoe Vale.
Alisson Lima has also been a stand-out forward in a Western Wolves side struggling for depth whilst teammate Mauricio Novak, Regent star Shifa Ahmed and Fitzroy goal-machine Josh Allen will all certainly be candidates for best and fairest if they keep up their form.