BAFL: The Kraljevo Royal Crowns In Sophia

Balkan American Football League was founded this year and has joined CEFL as a regional league. 

On Sunday, 3rd of November at 14:00 at the Akadamika stadium in Sofia, the Crowns will face off with the Bears, being the second game of the Balkan American Football League, (BAFL for short). This will be an interesting match-up considering the fact that some of the Bulgarian players had played the previous Serbian league season with the Crowns.

Larger portion of the Bears, along with the spectacular Alexander Kenanov, had played with Kraljevo the previous season, there will be little secrets to be kept between the two teams. Kenanov, one of the key players for the Crowns and a captain in the Serbian Seniors' league. This, however, will not be the first time these two teams face off, for they have encountered once before, in March 2011, the Crowns had hosted the Bears for a charity game that was also a preseason game for the Crowns that lead up to a very successful season. Kraljevo walked away with a 48:0 W that day, the RTS game review of the game can be seen below

The Bears are Bulgaria's most successful team, in its orders are only the top Bulgarian players with a lot of experience, much like in Serbia, football isn't popular in Bulgaria, which is a reason more for the Bears to participate in as many games as possible. BAFL is one of those golden opportunities that can help popularize football in the Balkan region, which is very helpful for teams like Sofia. Simon Vasilev, a Bear who has played with Kraljevo and will most likely play for Mladenovac in the 2014 season said 'This game will put us up against our brothers from Serbia, it's tough to know that we have to play against the people who we played with and who we've gone through a lot. Therefore, I think this will be a very good game, our expectations are high as well as for our captain, Kenanov. I think we will walk away as winners this time.'

The Crowns of Kraljevo will play the upcoming season in Serbia's 2nd league. It will be a good opportunity for the young players, who make up most of Kraljevo's team, to get some mileage under their feet, and participation, and maybe even being #1 in the BAF League will help football most for Kraljevo. It is certain that the game in Sofia will be very emotional, it's basically teammate on teammate. Crowns' captain, Stefan Djuric, said 'We are coming in as a blend of our seniors, juniors and a couple of players from other Serbian teams. Unfortunately, we're playing against our 'brothers in arms', but we will still give our all no matter what. We have a couple of very experienced players but the youngsters also have a shot at playing and getting better, players who will most likely be the backbone of our senior team. I expect nothing less than a fair game, and a victory if we play good enough.'

The first BAFL game took place in Bucharest on the 29th of September where the hometown Rebels defeated the Bears 6:0. The Rebels got the upper hand with a 15 yard run from Daniel Duta in the first quarter, which later on solidified the chances for a victory. The biggest factor was the Bucharest weather, the cold and rain strongly affected the scoreboard. The Rebels stacked the line of scrimmage in an attempt to shut down the run game of Sofia whose main threat was Alexander Kenanov the LB/RB.

Founding members and participants are The Royal Crowns of Kraljevo (Serbia), the Sofia Bears (Bulgaria) and the Bucharest Rebels (Romania). Even though BAFL has only 3 teams at the moment, hopes are high when it comes to the influence of the league across the region. This year, the matchups will contribute further development of football in the Balkans, so we can already expect the participation of Bosnian, Croatian and Slovenian teams next year.

Srdjan Cosic, RC president and one of the founders of the Balkan league, stated 'The mutual idea was to create a reagional league where all of the Balkan teams will be welcomed. Our aim is to unite all of the regional athletes, so that we could face each other on the field and give every team a shot at getting better. As of now, we've already got many plans for a BAFL expansion in the region.'

After the game in Sofia, the Crowns will face the Rebels on Sunday, 10th of November, at home.

BAFL schedule September 29th Sofia Bears @ Bucharest Rebels November 3rd Kraljevo Royal Crowns @ Sofia Bears November 10th Bucharest Rebels @ Kraljevo Royal Crowns