In a clash of champions, the current Belgian champion, the Brussels Black Angels will visit the 2015 Belgian champions, the Ghent Gators on Sunday to kick off the season in division I of the FAFL. The two teams will meet at the Gators new field on Borluutstraat in Ghent.
Gators undergoing big changes
For the Gators the new field is not the only change this season. Under center, a new quarterback, Gilles Van Overschelde will be rotating in. He will eventually be taking the place of veteran Bart Killens who announced he will be retiring at the end of the season. Killens will assume more of a mentor-role as the season progresses for the young Van Overschelde. Ghent will also be missing their national team running back Lionel Mankusa on offense. He is out with a shoulder injury. He will be replaced by Sander De Gussem.
With the change at quarterback and a new running back on offense, the defense will be called upon by head coach Roald Piqueur. However, the strong defensive unit we are used to seeing from the Gators made some big changes. Defensive end Quinten Suvee will not play for Ghent as he is currently not in the country. Equally important are the two new starting safeties. The safety spots will be manned by veterans Willem Doms and Flors Van Cauwenberghe with the departure of both of last year’s starters. They will lead the team from the back end of the secondary.
Black Angels still solid
The Brussels Black Angels roster on offense did not change much. They will lean on their strong running game with running back Brian de Caluwe and fullback Sam Bangamuabo. The quarterback position however is still a mystery. With two experienced players battling for the starting job, Kevin Noël and Francis Njufom, head coach Romuald Derys has a difficult job to choose one. Regardless of who starts at quarterback the brothers Bouron will be their favorite targets. Brice and Thomas Bouron, both Belgian Barbarians, will lead the charge from the tight end and receiver positions.
On the defensive side of the ball there have been some changes for the Black Angels. Defensive end Bart Meys and defensive tackle Rahsidi Banza both announced their retirement. On top of this Brussels lost linebacker Dennis Tetteh who made the switch to the AAFC. The Black Angels will lean on their strong secondary, lead by safety Hadrien Godichal.