KAPDA (OSTINGELE VII) – Proving himself to be as potent on the sidelines as on the pitch, first-year coach and former all-star player Saavin Singh lead the Kapda Cannons to their first Kendu Kanarma title with a thrilling victory of the Sajha Mavericks last night.
The Cannons, perennial underdogs in the league, had been suffering particularly badly in recent years, but energized their franchise this season with the hiring of Singh as their head coach. Singh was a member of six championship teams during his 10-year career with the Intaki Interceptors and still holds the team’s all-time scoring record.
“This is a great accomplishment and shows what a team can do when they focus on the basics and work together,” Singh said following the championship match, which his team won by a score of 2-1.
The match was a contest of will and defense with neither team able to score in the first half. After the break, the Mavericks emerged from the locker room in a strange formation that had the Cannons scrambling.
The gambit worked and allowed setter Ishtamil Sangridesh to position himself for a quick score by striker Albert Rousseu. Rousseu was actually a late season acquisition from the Cannons who traded him in exchange for a second-round draft pick next season.
The Cannons managed to adapt, however, and kept the Mavericks from scoring again. They were able to set up their own score in the final moments of frame, leaving the score tied with one period remaining.
Halfway through the fourth period, Singh showed that he had some tricks of his own and called a reverse play. In unison, the strikers assumed the role of setters and the Mavericks were too slow to set up new blocks. Veteran setter Samir Valdeshi scored his first goal of the season and only the second of his career, giving the Cannons a lead that they defended until the final whistle.
In addition to being the first-ever championship for the Kapda squad, the game also saw a record number of blocks (57) and shots at goal (75).
In accordance with tradition, the championship trophy will be housed at the Kapda stadium for two weeks. Following the display period, it will then be passed in turn into the possession of each member of the team for one week.
There was some question as to whether the tradition would be continued this season following an incident last year when an unidentified member of the Intaki Inceptors temporarily lost the trophy. The trophy was subsequently recovered from the possession of an exotic dancer at a space station in the Vey system.