After a nearly eight-year hiatus, American tackle football will back in the Commonwealth when the CNMI Sharks take on a team from Guam’s Budweiser Football League this coming Saturday, May 4, 1pm at the CPA Airport Field.
The CNMI Sharks is an adult tackle football team (18 years of age and above) representing the Commonwealth Football League Association (CFLA).
The game has been in the planning stages for some time and did see some scheduling changes, but the two respective leagues were able to iron out the current date to lock horns. This will be the second game for the CNMI Sharks.
The team from Guam will comprise of members of Guam’s Budweiser League, a number of whom are notable football names down south and have been mentioned on several different all-star lists. The CNMI team is made up of guys who have signed up to be a part of the team, many of whom will be playing their first game this coming Saturday and a few hold-outs from the old CNMI league play.
This game is predicted to be another slugfest where the CNMI will find itself playing the traditional role of the underdog against what will be a solid squad coming from Guam. In the previous four matchups, the CNMI Warriors, the previous CNMI team name for international competition, has come up short against a traditionally strong team to beat from Guam.
The game itself is an attempt by the CFLA to drum up interest not only in adult tackle football but to also work toward establishing a varsity and junior varsity program here on Saipan and revive the youth football League, which last saw play back in 2002.
The game itself will be the first tackle football game in equipment played in the CNMI since Dec. 3, 2005 when then Shell Lightning defeated Express Electronics Eagles 16-8 at the same CPA Airport Field.
The CFLA would like to thank the following sponsors in helping to make this game a reality. They are Marpac, Tan Holdings (TSL Foundation), Saipan Stevedore, CMS, IP&E, IT&E, and Saipan Apparel.
The first game the Sharks played was in Manila on Nov. 10, 2012, the first 11-man tackle football game to be played in Manila’s history, against the Philippine Punishers, the national tackle football team of the Philippines.
With a roster of only 22 players, the CNMI was able to hold out against a fully loaded Philippine team with a roster size over 40 strong playing in front of fans at Ultra Sports Complex. The final score for that game was Philippine Punishers 13, CNMI Sharks 6. (PR)