FA People's Cup – U16 – SJFA U16 (IV)

U16 – IV squad:
Hussayn Meghjee (GK)
Yaseen valjy (C)
Mohammedmehdi Karim
Salmaan Davdani
Qasim Suleman
Imran Kermali

On Friday 24th February the FA People’s Cup began promptly at Bushey Power league with our whole Under 16’s team of 6 looking forward to it. Our first game was against a group of friends that were clearly not as well-drilled as a lot of the teams out there. A shaky start led to us going 1-0 down but we came back strong winning the game 8-3. A hat-trick by Yaseen Valjy, and 2 braces: one from Salmaan Davdani and the other from Mohammed Mehdi Karim. The final goal was an impressive one from an out-and-out defender Qasim Suleiman, who took the ball from Center, then took on two players and slotted it in the bottom right hand corner. It was a very uplifting win for the team! For the second game we played against a team from Haberdasher’s. A win here would take us through to the next round. The game, as you can imagine, was very competitive one, staying at 0-0 for 4-5 mins. We finally broke the stalemate through a well-rounded finish from Mohammed Mehdi Karim. From here the game went on in a feisty manner leading to a score of 2-2. With just a minute left, the ball came to Yaseen Valjy who shot from a distance and put this important winning goal into the bottom left corner. We were now through to the quarterfinals with 2 wins out of 2. The 3rd and final game of the group stages was one that we put less effort into, so that we could rest our legs and be fresh for the next game. The game was against St Johns Wood, last year’s winner. They hadn’t conceded any goals after their first two games, having scored a combination of 20 goals. We, unfortunately, lost the game 4-2, after a very respectable effort considering the calibre of the team we were playing. After the next draw came through, we discovered that we would be playing a different yet equally strong St Johns Wood team. The match started with us under the cosh going 1-0 down fairly quickly. However we responded swiftly by winning a penalty. Yaseen Valjy picked up the ball, someone who is notorious for buckling under the pressure when it comes to taking a penalty in an important situation. He started having flashbacks to his missed penalty in the quarterfinal of MAMT 2010. As he stepped up, everything was moving in slow motion. He connected with the ball and thankfully looked up to see it ripple the back of the net achieving a 1-1 score. The game progressed with Hussein Meghji making some unbelievable saves keeping us in the game. We went 2-1 down but soon got back on level terms with a well-worked free kick which was put away by Mohammed Mehdi Karim with another tidy finish. 2 quick goals from St Johns wood put us 4-2 down but as Safraz Uncle shouted from the side line, “it is only two goals”. Good distribution from Hussein led to Yaseen having the ball at his feet. Yaseen drove at the defenders and with one step-over he took the ball on to his left and weaker foot, and nestled it into the corner. The score was 4-3, however, with 30 seconds left. Sadly, it was too little too late and we were knocked out. A few more minutes and we might have done it. The fact that we got this far was impressive and was down to a strong team effort. Finally I would like to give a huge thanks to Hassnain Uncle and Sabir Uncle for taking us this far. A huge thanks also to our supporters, especially the mums, who had left their busy schedules to come and cheer for us on truly freezing Friday night in Bushey!

Written By: Yaseen Valjy