The 2017 SLN Challenge Cup has turned out to be an interesting campaign for Cullen FC. As defending champions of the Redeemer’s Cup, they were seen as tournament favorites. However, two disappointing draws to Avengers FC and Clay FC currently puts them in 3rd place. The nature of both draws appear to follow the same pattern – They were set to win the first game against Avengers FC with a comfortable 2 goal margin, and then conceded 2 goals in the final 10 minutes of the game. Likewise, in the second game, Clay FC scored a goal in the final minutes to tie the game at 1-1.
An inward look into the team roster and style of play reveals the reason why they were perceived as tournament favorites. The team works tirelessly to close down opposing players, ball hold up, passing and use of space is excellent, goal attempt stats are high and the quality of goals have been breathtaking. In addition, the current highest goal scorer is also from Cullen FC.
However, as a result of their physical approach to field domination, the team currently has the highest number of infractions, resulting in some key players missing the next match. Also, the drop in concentration levels in the final quarter of games may be an unintended price being paid for their high-intensity style of play.
As the pivotal 3rd and final game approaches, there is a general sense of confidence and belief among the players that qualifying for the final round is still possible. The Team Coach, Dayo Brown, is certain to tinker with his roster and will field a team he believes will guarantee the desired result. Ultimately, the true test lies on the shoulders of the 11 players on the field, as they will be motivated by only one goal – To win.