Under 12 Squad:
Friendly 1 v IGK
We were greeted by our hosts who immediately advised us we would be playing 11-a-side instead of 9-a-side on a full size pitch! The management team had set-up and prepared for a 9-a-side, but, 11-a-side it was to be. The game plan went out of the window and we had a few minutes to re-organise the team.
Thankfully we had a squad of 12 players, so, numbers was not an issue. However, IGK must have had a squad of at least 16 players which proved to be advantageous as they game progressed.
We kicked off and within minutes IGK scored their first goal – we were caught cold after losing the ball in midfield and a lack of communication between the defenders. After this we gained more composure and started to get back into the game. Ali Dewji made a great run and was fouled on the edge of the area. From the resulting free-kick their keeper made a fine save. IGK were causing us threats every time they attacked and from a corner they scored again. This was a result of a lack of communication and ball watching. The ball broke in the area and they were first to react to slot home an easy finish. Half time 2-0 to the hosts.
The second half proved to be more competitive, however, the fact IGK had many subs at their disposal made a significant difference whilst our 12 players had to give everything they had playing on a 11-a-side pitch! Again IGK scored from a corner making it 3-0. Soon after we had a free kick on goal, it was a poor free-kick which IGK intercepted and broke on us, credit to Abbas Alloo who chased back the entire length of the pitch and when the ball was crossed in for a simple tap in, Abbas bravely dived to intercept the ball only for it to go in the far post as an own goal! It was extremely unlucky and underserved.
We lost 4-0, but, the boys could still be proud of the fact they played a well drilled league team on an 11-a-side pitch and produced a respectable performance.
Friendly 2 v Tottenham
Tottenham only had 7 players as they also thought the format would be 9 or 7-a-side, so, we agreed to play a 7-a-side game on one of the smaller pitches.
Unfortunately as I had a squad of 12 and I could not play everyone, we decided to give the players who didn’t start the whole of the second half.
This game was to be a good battle, our players were more comfortable with this format on a smaller pitch. Tottenham opened the scoring, but almost immediately, Alireza Hamir crossed a pinpoint ball into the box for Ali Dewji to score with a deft cushioned header, a well worked goal and a collectors item for Ali who rarely scores with his head, 1-1. Soon after Ali Dewji plays in Husayn Ismail who kept his composure to slot home and make it 2-1. Just before half-time Tottenham scored to make it 2-2.
We changed it around in the second half to give everyone a game. The boys played really well in what was a tight half. We ended up losing 3-2, but, the boys can be really proud of themselves.
Every individual player played their part in the 2 fixtures and should be proud of their efforts. They showed glimpses of potential that I am sure will be fulfilled with more training sessions, experience and games. A special mention for two players who were outstanding in both games, Abbas Chandoo & Alireza Hamir. Both read the games exceptionally well and remained focused throughout.