After a cruel defeat to Panthers the week before BEFC went into the last match before the holiday break with renewed vigour to get a result. However it was not to be when similarly to the previous game they conceded an early goal during transition. Still adapting to Division 1 Football BEFC consistently start at a Division 2 speed until they get punished for it and wake up. At half time a solid pep talk from Field Marshal James Pounder he reminded the team of the quick, fast and slick play of their futsal sessions, and questioned why they were not doing this on the field. The team recognised need for speed, not in effort and running but speed of thought and quickness of moving the ball at a higher pace. Immediately this took effect and BEFC practically pinned Celts into their own half for the last 40 minutes. It was a solidly competitive game, and now BEFC were showing themselves as the better team in search of a goal. Again the football gods were not their side with chances missed, crossbars hit and rebounds falling kindly for a Celts defence and a missed penalty. Similary to the week before, on a different day this was a BEFC victory all over but rather than feel hard done by, it was also a moment of clarity about what they needed as a team.
In this match BEFC experienced the difference in speed, what they needed to compete and then went a did it strongly for an entire half proving that they can transition very successfully to the level required.
With this understanding it's now just making sure they can start and play every match at this higher tempo until it is the new normal.
To this faster rhythmn, one player who stood out, moving the ball and pushing up the speed was Kunihiko Maki. Maki was last in the enter an already packed squad at the start of the season and has been patiently waiting for every opportunity to shine and establish a place in the squad. In earlier performances his skill was recognised but many felt 'he was a bit soft', which in the increased physicality of Division 1 is something opposition will exploit. However having had this mentioned to him, Maki went into the game hard, showing increased aggression, purpose and bravery when challenging for balls and getting into vital blocks and tackles. This change was immediately noticed and combined with his already high levels of technical skill produced a big impact, especially in the second half.
When it came time for player nominations it was pretty clear that all his team mates had noticed his performance too and with a large amount of praise and majority Kunihiko Maki is the Adecco BEFC Most Valuable Player versus Kanto Celts.