American football in Sweden, like many other sports, has been affected by the restrictions around Covid. For Skaraborg Skövde Dukes and Lidköping Lakers, this meant there were very few players who could play for sure. In a sport that requires many players, the only option was to put away the old rivalry and cooperate instead.
We hope to meet in Skara because it’s a long way for both teams to meet at home. It’s more fair so no one gets punished for it. We’ll just need to practice together when it comes to game tactics. Before that, we do cardio and positioning exercises on our own, says Skövde Dukes coach Gary Weeks.
Previously, the two teams were rivals in Scaraborg and many hot feelings were amplified during the match. But Gary doesn’t think it will be a problem and won’t affect the team. Because it is an old rivalry that still exists with former players and some of them in the technical staff. For younger and new players, the news was not received with the same harshness.
All teams want to be the ‘best dog’ in their area and this is something I understand since I was a trainer in the UK. But American football as a sport sometimes requires that you do something that is acceptable and difficult to accept. You have to do better for the team.
Skaraborg so far is not a permanent solution but it is a coincidence that both clubs have been able to play. Both clubs are hopeful that it will be back to normal next year and that they can make up for it on the pitch again.
– To make it as good as possible, it takes about 30 players on a team. Then no one needs to be forced to play more than they can tolerate, and new players get time to learn the game and get the experience required to continue playing for several years. Before making the decision, we agreed with the players and they were all positive prior to the merger, says Lidköping Lakers coach Matthias Rohr.
However, the future looks bright for Skövde Dukes with a large squad of around 30 players, a junior team that will soon be able to strengthen the seniors and a women’s team that may be in the works.
We basically have a lot of players, but because of Covid and its restrictions, we’ve lost a lot who can’t or don’t want to train without a vaccine. On the women’s side, we have dozens of soldiers from Carlsburg who are interested in games but unfortunately are currently in Mali for service. But when they come back this winter and hopefully we’ll be able to build a team for next season, says Gary.