ANATICAL expat footballers have teamed up to take on all-comers with lofty ambitions to one day play against the cream of Bahrain.
Just seven months old, the Janabiyah Juggernauts, have attracted an ever-growing band of players and supporters and are now setting up a second team and starting to host tournaments.
Founder member and club chairman Kris Domokos said: “Our club is made up of approximately 40 fantastic members. Typically expatriate players have filled our ranks from around the world including Greeks, Italians, Scots, Egyptians, Americans and even one individual from as far as Liverpool!
“We consider ourselves to be a club with a door wide open and as a result we have players aged 18 to 40, many of whom coach football at local academies.”
Expat Brit Domokos, 25, from Manchester, is lead football coach for Arsenal FC (Saudi Arabia) and said the team idea came midway through a vigorous pre-season training camp, to create and bring ‘the greatest and most enjoyable football team in Bahrain’ to the table.
Later, sat around that table with Ryan Conway, Jack Stevens and Scott Royan, it was decided to build the initial Juggernauts squad.
“Since that humid day on August 27 the Jugs have never looked back and the lives of many footballers have never been the same,” said fellow Mancunian Conway, 27, the club’s director of football and head football coach at Bahrain’s Sparta Academy.
All credit for our club name is given to the side’s No 1 - goalkeeper Stevens. Whilst his reactions and ‘incredible saves’ have kept them in many games, his greatest contribution to the club has been his invention of the name ‘Janabiyah Juggernauts’, Domokos added.
Conway is credited for growing the club’s reputation on the pitch. Playing a traditional yet attractive style of football each week, the club soon caught the eye of the local expat community.
A number of strong signings were made, including the acquisition of captain Alex Legge-Beale from local rivals, Bahrain Rugby Football Club. “This gave us strength and depth in abundance,” said Conway.
Results recorded to date show an impressive Won 22, Drawn 3, Lost 5.
Off the pitch Domokos has focused on developing the club’s structure and direction. “Having recently hosted our first competitive tournament, the club’s exposure within the world of football here in Bahrain has soared,” he said. “Continuous fixture and tournament invites from both local and expat clubs have filled our fixture schedule until late April.
“Our social media channels have continued to grow too, due to our light-hearted and interactive content.”
Success on the pitch and the growing following has helped generate ‘generous sponsorship’ from The Churchill Bahrain outlet in Adliya and Sparta which has ‘steadied the club financially’ and enable it to purchase an ‘iconic black kit’.
“We often meet twice per week, once to play and once for a social gathering as our team cohesion is very high,” said Domokos. “As we look to expand and become more competitive a weekly training session will be delivered for players in our first team.
“Whilst we have a number of irons in the fire our next step is to introduce a second team for the club.
“Our first team will look to compete in what many consider to be the national third division. We are currently looking into the possibility of entering this sports and cultural clubs competition. It is considered to be the highest level after the country’s top two divisions I have been told. We have just been informed and are currently looking into the option.
“The second team will be open to anybody who is looking to participate in football and we will continue to uphold our unrivalled football and social experience.”
The recent Janabiyah Juggernauts seven-a-side tournament, featuring competitive group and knock-out stages, saw 10 local clubs take part.
“The purpose was to help build the football community in the local area and allow teams to network and connect with one another,” explained Domokos. “The tournament was organised and funded by the Jugs and all proceeds have been invested into our next project, a junior football tournament.”
The club is operated under the jurisdiction of Domokos and Conway with input and support from captain Legge-Beale and marketing manager. Moody Hisham.
The Janabiyah Juggernauts’ home ground is Saar Cultural& Sports Club when available, and St Christopher’s Junior School facilities, where Sparta is based, are used too.
Football lovers wanting more details about the club should contact Ryan on 38162787, email Janabiyah.Juggernauts@gmail.com or follow them on Facebook/Instagram @Janabiyah.Juggernauts.
* Cheers turned to jeers and tears for expat football team, Janabiyah Juggernauts, in the early hours of Friday morning. Whilst the players were dreaming of their convincing 9-0 victory over Winners Football Academy the night before, sneaky thieves were stealing their kit.The black shirts and shorts, worth BD400, which the club had only owned for a week, were stolen from co-founder Ryan’s car parked in Janabiyah, sometime between 5.30am and 11.30am on March 9.
Please contact the police if you have any information.
Stanley Louis Szecowka
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