Fancy be­ing a fan­tasy foot­ball boss?

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - TYLER ROODT

DIE-hard foot­ball fans, if you’ve ever wanted to man­age your own dream team of Eden Haz­ards, Ser­gio Agueros, Dele Al­lis, Zla­tan Ibrahi­movics and Harry Kanes, look no fur­ther than your PC or cell­phone.

The Fan­tasy League phe­nom­e­non has cap­tured sports fans the world over, rang­ing from Amer­i­can foot­ball to base­ball and, of course, soc­cer. The most pop­u­lar of these is the Fan­tasy Pre­mier League, which is cen­tred around the real English Pre­mier League and its play­ers.

The fan­tasy league gives users a bud­get of £100 mil­lion (un­for­tu­nately, not real money) to se­lect a team of 15 (two goal­keep­ers, five de­fend­ers, five mid­field­ers and three for­wards), and you’re only al­lowed to choose three play­ers from any one team.

From the start­ing XI, users nom­i­nate a cap­tain, who will earn dou­ble the usual points, and a vice-cap­tain, in case your cap­tain is un­able to play.

The scor­ing sys­tem is sim­ple: points are gained for goals scored/saved, clean sheets, and even for play­ers play­ing more than 60 min­utes.

Af­ter cre­at­ing their teams, users can en­ter a league, which are ei­ther pri­vate or public, and if you know other fan­tasy play­ers, you can cre­ate your own league. The fan­tasy team with the most points by the end of the sea­son is the win­ner.

If you’re a bit more se­ri­ous about it, the of­fi­cial FPL web­site awards prizes to the best man­agers ev­ery week, which in­clude a Nike match ball, a copy of the lat­est Fifa video game and tick­ets to any Pre­mier League game of the win­ner’s choice.

An­to­nio Baloka, an avid foot­ball fan and fan­tasy league player, said: “My friends and fam­ily are largely foot­ball fa­nat­ics, es­pe­cially fans of Eng­land teams.

“Fan­tasy foot­ball is a means of prov­ing how much you re­ally know, and it gives you se­ri­ous brag­ging rights.”

Baloka is a three-time win­ner of his pri­vate league, the Lekker League, in which he com­petes against fam­ily and friends.

Paul Miles, who has been play­ing for seven years, added: “If you are com­mit­ted, com­pet­i­tive, have nerves of steel to even bet against your favourite English Pre­mier League team so that your fan­tasy team scores big, then this game is for you.”

Miles and Baloka are close friends and com­pete against each other in the same league.

If you fancy your chances, why not sign up too? Visit www. fan­tasy.pre­mier­league.com.

Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic

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