EFAF is followed by IFAF Europe
Moscow Patriots win inaugural Eastern Cup
The first EFAF Eastern Cup Tournament had its very successful premiere. Plans to install this third regional annual club tournament had emerged last year, Eastern Cup is designed to provide teams from Eastern Europe with an opportunity to present themselves on the international stage and help them to develop knowledge and abilities to compete in other international tournaments like EFAF Cup in the future.
It was definitely no easy job for the local organizers, but they surprised everybody with their detailed preparations for the event. To aid further successful developmental work in the region, EFAF decided to combine the Eastern Cup with a clinic for officials.
The first Eastern Cup was held in mid-July at Minsk, the capital of Belarus. Well-known teams Moscow Patriots - who already have participated in other EFAF competitions in the past - and St. Petersburg Neva Lions represented Russia in the tournament. The Ukraine sent the the Kiev Jets and the Minsk Zubrs took the spot for hosting Belarus.
While all four teams arrived safe and on time on the spot - the leading national sports facility in Belarus - and held practices there just shortly before game time the Kiev Jets decided they were not ready to face such an experienced team like the Moscow Patriots for their scheduled semifinal clash. So in the best interest of the health of the players involved it was decided to grant the the Patriots their spot in the final game. Minsk Zubrs and the St. Petersburg Neva Lions played the remaining semifinal game. On a bright and sunny Saturday both teams met under perfect conditions. The Minsk Zubrs beat St. Petersburg by 22-14 and headed into the first final game of the Eastern Cup Tournament.
Minsk used the opportunity to showcase another fine performance and proved to be a real competitive football team even for the favorites from Moscow. With 750 spectators on hand the Moscow Patriots had to play their best football to hold off the Minsk challenge. In the end Moscow only could score once - RB Anton Paramonov was accounted for the lone touchdown in the final game. MVP honors were given to defensive back Ivan Stelmakh for the Patriots and to Minsk running back Alexandr Krivonosov. The third-placed St. Petersburg Neva Lions had their most valuable player in running back Alexei Chernov.