Stanmore Black Under 12 team was coached by Fuad. The team was:
Ali Hadi Govani (C)
Qaim-Ali Ravji (GK)
Husayn Yahya Merali
Mohammed Bakir Lilani
The pressure was on from the start for these boys as this was the last tournament together for this age group with the majority of the team moving up a tier, no MAMT trophy together so far with a high expectation to deliver.
We played 6 group matches, winning each game, scoring 21 goals and conceding ‘0’!! Sami Merali scoring 11 of those and Zia Dewji with 6. Our defence was unbreakable with Ali Hadi Govani, Husayn Yahya and Bakir Lilani ensuring Qaim Ali had little to do in goal.
Our Quarter Final was to be our first major test. Only 2 of our teams made it through and we were drawn against each other, we were to play Stanmore Blue! They gave us a tough game which was drawn 0-0. Straight to penalties which was a mixed bag of nerves, pressure and Qaim Ali making 3 penalty saves! It was a bitter sweet moment as we wanted to meet our boys in the final and they gave it their all.
The semi final was against Leicester B. We took a 1-0 lead early in the game, before Leicester scored the first and only goal against us in open play 1-1. I had felt i needed to rest Husayn Yahya and Zia as they had given everything in the previous game and we had no rest between games. I put them both back on and went for a more attacking formation – we won the game 5-1 with both Zia and Husayn Yayha scoring soon after coming on.
The final was to be against either Hyderi or Birmingham. We watched their semi final penalty shoot out in anticipation. To our surprise Birmingham were through.
The game against Birmingham was a very dull game with both sides looking very drained with very little left in the tank. The sun had been beating down on the them for a good few hours and they had played 8 games in such a short period of time. The game ended 0-0 and went to penalties. This was to be roller coaster of emotions and highs, we missed 2 of our 3 penalties and Qaim Ali saved 2 out of the three. We went to sudden death and again our penalty was saved and Qaim Ali kept us in it with a fine save. Qaim Ali then took a penalty himself and scored, pressure was now on Birmingham to score. Qaim Ali saves!! The Stanmore supporters go wild, the players mob Qaim Ali and I breath a huge sigh of relief!!! What a feeling!
It had been a journey that will stay with me and i’m sure the boys for many years to come. We had been working hard throughout the year for this moment and we had achieved our goal.
This was our last game together and what a way to end it! Very proud of all the players as each of them played a significant part in winning MAMT 2017!
Stanmore Blue under 12 team was coached by Bruce. The team was:
Abbas Alloo (GK)
Aqil Karawalli (c)
These boys had just come up from the lower tier, and so there was really no pressure on them. They were there to have fun, give 100%, and see how far they could get.
We started playing in a diamond formation as this was the system the boys were most used to. Our first game was against Stanmore Green, and for some reason we never got going. We let in 2 bad goals and lost the game 3-0.
That was a wake up call and the next game against Stanmore Yellow we performed much better. Despite losing an early goal, Ali Dewji and Husayn Ismail scored a goal each to make it 2-1 – our first victory.
We then played against Leicester B, which was a very tight game. We dominated and completely held our own, but again we let in a soft goal at the end and lost 1-0.
I then changed the formation to 2-2 as I felt the defence needed a bit of reinforcement. Our opponents were Peterborough; we ran rings around this much bigger and more physical team, Ali Dewji, Alireza Hamir, and Husayn Ismail scoring to make it 3-1. Our second win!
We then came up against Birmingham, who were much bigger, and a very strong team. Despite our best efforts, we could not overcome them and we lost 2-0.
This all meant that we needed a win against a strong Hyderi side. And with Hyderi you get a lot of noise and physicality. But this was the proudest moment. On the physical side, the boys gave as good as they got, if not more. Hyderi were no match for our skill and movement, and despite their best efforts to bully our smaller players, we ran rings around them, scored two beautiful goals, and won 2-1. The boys were now on a high as we had qualified – unexpectedly – for the quarter finals.
We were drawn against Stanmore Black. The game was very tight. We defended well and held them to a 0-0 draw. It went to penalties:
We missed …
The boys were a bit down as they had come so close. But each of them played amazingly well in a tough situation and they had lost to the eventual champions.
I was very pleased to have coached these boys one more time, as now they are going to be in Tier 4 from September. I am very proud of how far they have come. If they can stay fit and healthy, they are going to be a real force for years to come.
Stanmore White Under 12 team was coached by Fuad with the help of Abbas Khatau. The team was:
Ammar Kassam (GK)
Husayn M KG
Husayn M H Merali
Muhammad Ali Chandoo
This was a very young team having to play boys up to 2 years older! The difference in size and ability was clear to see, however, they made up for it in spirit and determination.
Each and every player hounding me to play in every game and not be subbed! It was great to see the enthusiasm they all had.
Unfortunately the boys didn’t make it out of the group stage, but, left me proud.
Stanmore Green Under 12 team was coached by Asgherali Gulamhussein and Nazir Dewji. The team was:
Jameel Walji (C)
Muhammad Mahdi Panju (GK)
Mohammed Mohsin Kanani
Zain Muhammad Valji
Stanmore Green started the tournament with a bang. A 3-0 victory over their younger brothers at Stanmore Blue including the opening goal of the MAMT tournament by Yousuf Datoo and a storming performance by Jameel Valji as he terrorised the defence and got his rewards with goals. Following an educational defeat by Hyderi, the team won again against another Stanmore team with Zain Muhammed Valji and Abbas Asaria coming off the bench and making the difference. Special mention at this stage goes to Ali Khatau who unselfishly offered to play in goal when our goalkeeper was delayed and played excellently in the first three matches. With 2 wins out of 3 and with our goalkeeper having now arrived, things were looking positive for the Greens.
However, things went a little downhill from there. The players visibly flagged physically and could not match the intensity of the earlier games. Whilst putting in great effort, they always seemed to be stretching to make that final pass or just a little behind an opposition attacker that couldn’t be tracked and, to some extent, we were unlucky to be punished for each mistake although Mohammed Mahdi Panju kept us within striking distance of all games by his excellent keeping.
With one final game to play, we knew that a win would take us through to the quarter finals. Leicester B started well and took an early lead but, showing what the team can do, we scored one of the goals of the day with a sweeping passing moved finished by Ali Khatau to level. Mohammed Mohsin Kanani continued to keep order in defence almost single handedly and as we pushed for the winner, Leicester scored and our tournament was over.
Fine margins and we were left thinking of what might have been but that is tournament football.
Particular mention must be made of the akhlak of the boys of this team. I saw all of them later in the day supporting the Stanmore Black with incredible passion as they progressed to victory putting their own disappointment behind them. I also saw many of them the following day and each one came up to me thanking SJFA for the training over the last year and stating how much they enjoyed the tournament.
Stanmore Team Yellow – Asgherali Gulamhussein:
Aqeel Bhimani (GK)
Muhammad Aqeel Mavani
MAMT which is the final event in our season calendar is an event eagerly anticipated by all our players.
Starting with the early morning drive to Peterborough with some players having woken up at 6:00 a.m., it was great to see the enthusiasm and energy of all the players as I’m sure most of them would not have had much sleep with the excitement of playing in the tournament.
With the opening ceremony, referees debrief and healthy dose of mahambri barazi and chai done by 8:45, all the players were raring to go for their matches.
All 6 group matches were extremely close affairs, with the team winning 1 and losing 5, which meant that we did not qualify and were knocked out in the group stages.
What was heartening to see, was that the team never gave up and their heads did not drop even though they lost the first 4 matches with the win coming in the fifth match.
Each and every player gave it their all on the day and some of the intricate play and the goals scored during the group matches were a joy to watch.
I’m sure the boys had a great time playing in MAMT, and the experience of taking part will hold them in good stead for future fixtures be it friendlies or other external tournaments.
Points to take home from this tournament, the players should never fear the opposition regardless of how big or strong they are.