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Blazers Take First Steps in Long Journey

Photo by: Eric Lemoine

After being bruised, beaten and silenced in last year’s Copa de la Paz semifinals, the CMU Men’s futsal team found itself rebuilt and ready to avenge last year’s heartbreak.

They were able to handle the first obstacles as they overcame two quality teams away from the Loewen centre this weekend, defeating both the University of Saint Boniface (USB) Rouges and Providence Pilots.

A large reason CMU was able to overcome these opponents was due to their new leadership presence on and off the court. While Anderson Pereira is no stranger to Manitoba Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC) Futsal, Saturday marked his first game as CMU’s new bench boss.

Pereira’s first move as Head Coach was to appoint Ryan Jensen as team captain for the upcoming 2019 season. “It’s a big step,” Jensen said, “I want that responsibility, and I want to lead (the Blazers) to the final."

Jensen certainly lived up to his words Saturday converting a leaping volley into the top corner of the goal to put the Blazers up 4-0 to start their season.

However, as anyone who knows anything about futsal could tell you, no lead is safe. As quickly as the Blazers started, USB turned the tide and scored four of the next five goals to trail by one. The last four minutes were played in controlled chaos as CMU held on to win their first match of the season 5-4.

The next day CMU travelled to Providence to play their second match in as many days. The story of this contest was found in the Blazers’ new recruits. Paul Odedina and Matheus Moreno combined to score five of the Blazer’s eight goals in the 8-2 statement.

Pereira was the first to note the contributions from his team saying, “The players are top quality which makes my job very easy.” Pereira said, “It’s scary how good we can be.”    

While Pereira is confident in his team, he was quick to point out that he plans to take every game seriously. This is an excellent strategy as CMU prepares for two games in Brandon this Saturday.

The first game sees CMU take on a struggling Assiniboine Community College (ACC) Cougars team looking for their first win. Pereira, true to his strategy notes to never take ACC lightly, especially in their home gymnasium. It was only two years ago that ACC stole a point from the Blazers after shocking them with four quick goals to begin the matchup. It is also worth remembering that ACC’s gymnasium is the place that halted CMU’s dream of winning the championship just last year.

After finishing off their first match at 11 am, the men will drive over to Brandon to face their rivals and fellow undefeated Brandon University (BU) Bobcats at 5 pm. The magnitude of this match cannot be undersold as Anderson calls it, “The game to watch this first half of the season for whoever likes futsal.”

Bobcats bad blood will be on display early as they look for revenge after the Blazers’ stole the soccer championship just two months ago. For the Blazers, it is revenge for the semifinals defeat in penalty kicks last year that must be avenged. Whatever the outcome, “It will be a great game, its going to be a big clash between two great teams,” said Pereira.

photo credit: Eric Lemoine

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