Salaam Cup 2018 – Match reports

Tier 1 Cubs match reports:

Overall Manager Report – SJFA Cubs – Abbas Khatau

Salam Alaykum,

Firstly, I would like to thank all the players and participants for all their energy and dedication to be part of and have the honour of representing our youngest Tier – The Cubs at this year 2018 Salaam Cup Tournament.
We all know that any tournament would not be a tournament without the participation of the players who are the key to this success.

My coaches and including myself have always kept and maintained the Ethos that these tournaments are all about enjoying, and not having to worry about the final score. This gives the boys no pressure but a free spirit to play the match to the best of their ability.

Over the past year at training, we have been using the repetitive approach to our sessions. This enables the kids to recollect what we are trying to enforce on match days so that they can relate to this whether it is ball control, one touch and pass or looking for that elusive killer pass.

All three teams were setup with the above in mind and all the coaches were involved in either managing or helping referee the games on the momentous day.

It was a great pleasure for me to referee the matches and look at the boys play with their heart on their sleeves. There was an overall feeling of togetherness, encouragement and helping each other be part of the team when they played the games no matter what the result.

No tournament will be complete without recognising the organisers that have spent tireless night to get the event organised and this also includes the numerous Salamteers who kept aside their day to help the community, parents, players and our guests have a memorable day.

I also would like to put on record a note of thanks to both Raza Jaffery and Jamil Merali who will be moving to Tier 2 to work with the boys from the start of the September 2018 season. Thanks, you for all help and we wish you all the success with coaching Tier 2.

It has been and always will be a pleasure to help manage the youngest Tier with all the dedicated coaches who make all this possible.

Salams & Duas,
Abbas Khatau

Tier 1 Manager and on behalf of all Tier 1 coaches

Cubs – Team Brazil (Amir Zaidi & Jamil Merali)
Coach: Amir Zaidi
Referee: Jamil Merali
Amar Lakhani
Muhammad Husain Hamir
Hassanain Chandoo
Adil Husayn Walji
Owais Ali Chandoo
Hassan Merali
Hameed Bhojani

In the few weeks prior to salaam Cup, Tier 1 coaches naturally focused a little bit more on match play in training session.

The two extra training sessions that were arranged specifically prior to salaam cup were much more focused on preparation for salaam cup.
The biggest wins that we gained, in my opinion, from the run-up to the tournament was that the children we subdivided and worked closely with, were much more comfortable with us and their teammates when we eventually got to the more excitable environment of the day itself.

This made coaching on the day easier.

Other gains came from the fact that we could impart many behavioural expectations on the players which by and large the players followed through on.

These were:
Dealing with nerves and worries the children might have;

Expectations around listening to the referee and playing to the whistle;
Perseverance when losing, given that SJFA Brazil Contained some of the smaller younger and some less able boys, I think both coaches were pleased with this aspect of their reaction to losing a lot of goals early in games but not giving up;

The focus on enjoyment and being proud of themselves;

Understanding certain rules such as the retreat line.

Where I feel we could’ve improved for next year was as follows:

Earlier division of players into their teams, where possible, although I fully understand that this can only be done once parents have confirmed the Childs involvement, and this can’t be done too far in advance;

The extra time can then be used for more traditional coaching, rather than behaviour management;

Allowing the boys to make any choices as to their position, goalkeeper defender or attacker would allow the boys to take pride in the position that they chose and stick with that position throughout all the games willingly.

Then once the boys had their particular position, we could focus in on basic skills such as for goalkeepers not being frightened of the ball and judging its bounce, for defender sticking with A man and not giving up;

And for strikers working on shooting.

With hindsight, I also think being able to develop perhaps three or four hand signals coaches could give players to give them encouragement, or to impart simple instructions (such as keep running) could have been developed.

If you ask me the single biggest improvement we could make for the boys of this age for their performance in tournaments such as salaam cup, it is aggression, In the most positive sense.

I took the Opportunity when my kids did not have a game to show them how aggressive Ickenham and AVA were, they were tough but fair and I think our boys should learn the similar lessons from playing against them.

Of course, this must be handled sensitively, but being able to resist challenges, being gritty when faced with bigger boys, getting up when you have fallen over and not being frightened of the ball are all important skills. I think if we get parent buy-in, we should focus on this. Let’s not forget that when we were trained by Rashid from the FA he continually commented that Asian boys were seen to have the skill but nearly always fell down on the commitment and aggression parts of football but I needed. We should address this with focused but careful training on this point.

Overall, I think the appetite amongst the players and the parents will be heightened when the children come back, we can harness this so long as we went back to their experiences in Salam Cup as a springboard for perhaps more intense coaching methods than we used before.

On the day, the opportunity to coach was limited by the fact that the children at their age will not be able to react to complex instructions.

From my perspective, it may have been useful for me to have the children’s names on the sheet of paper so I can check how much each child had played which would help me make it fairer for substitutions, as I felt a little bit lost in the heat of the moment working out who would play the full game and who had not yet been a sub.

Coach: Amir Zaidi

– I ref’d all of the matches on one of the pitches which was a joy as I was able to see first hand how much the kids have come on over the past year. The kids now have a much better understanding of the game vs a year ago (but as expected, they do require a reminder from time to time about which way they are scoring and where to stand whilst being a goalie) and showed lots of skill and determination.

The boys demonstrated they love playing the beautiful and showed their excitement when they scored. Two memories of goals were from Mehdi sharestani (he scored a Hatrick in one game) and from Hassan Merali!

A message to the parents – thanks for bringing your kids to training every week, and pls continue to do next season. But also get out in the garden/park and have a kick with them. They will improve with your support.-

Jamil Merali

Cubs – Team England – (Reza Jaffery & Hasnain Karawalli)
Coach: Raza Jaffery
Referee: Hasnain Karawalli
Zayn Shah
Yusuf Jaffrey
Mahdi Shahrestani
Hasan Dadlani
Yusuf Tharoo
Murtaza Mehrali
Husayn Kermali
RaihanAli Dewji

In the four games that SJFA England Cubs participated in, all the boys demonstrated commitment and effort. In the first game, the boys showed support for each other by passing the ball around and with Zayn, Murtaza and Mahdi upfront the attack looked strong. There was some great link up play between Zayn and Mahdi and with some excellent goals by Zayn. The icing on the cake had to be Mahdi’s hattrick, all goals were taken calmly and skilfully! The two Yusuf’s got busy with defensive and midfield duties, with some great tackles being put about. Hussain was our rock in goal, making a few crucial saves and he made them look easy! Hassan Dadlani and Raihan Ali Dewji also played excellently and got stuck in with some great tackles!

Cubs – Team Spain – (Mustafa Muraj & Sadiq Merali)

Coach: Sadiq Merali
Referee: Mustafa Muraj
Muhammed-Mahdi Ladak
Eesa Ali Janmohamed
Javadali Muraj
Kaysan Pirbhai
Gabriel Khaki
Mohsinali Murtaza
Husayn Khimji

Salaam Cup 2018 was certainly a day to remember. SJFA Spain cubs were raring to go from the outset and played well as a team. Goalkeeping duties were rotated between different team members which gave all players a chance to experience match play on the pitch as well as in goal.

Going forward, more focus during training should be on passing to each other and also defence and marking.

It was lovely to see the camaraderie within the team and how they celebrated with each other after scoring a goal. Even when a goal was conceded, they took it well and carried on playing with fervour. This really showed us that the love for playing the game was their reason for being there.

The parents shouting encouragement and praise from the sidelines also spurred the boys on and added to a great atmosphere in the match hall. The pride on each child’s face when they were presented with their medals at the end was priceless.

It gives us great satisfaction to see such young ones playing with open hearts and minds and we look forward to seeing these boys grow in terms of ability and mindset.

Tier 2 – Under 7’s and 8’s match reports:

Team: SJFA Brazil
Zain Alibhai
Ammarhussein Lalji
Adam Merali
Mikaeel Merali
Ammar Husayn Ravji
Habeeb Tharoo
Coach: Yaseen Valjy

It was an early start for the boys as the aspiring Coutinho, Neymar and Willians were waking up to play for SJFA Brazil. The team arrived at Harefield academy by 8 and following the registration of the team we proceeded to eat a healthy breakfast of pain au chocolat and croissants with some chai for myself. As the boys ate their breakfast I gave them an inspiring team talk telling them to play with passion, pride and to have fun and that’s all that would matter.

We had to travel to Stade de France for our first match against SJFA England. The match was held at deadlock for the majority of the game with some great saves made by Habeeb Tharoo but two quick attacks meant the final score ended up Brazil 0-2 England. An appropriate forecast for the World Cup Final.

A quick flight then took us to the Luzhniki for our match against the eventual winner Northwood FC. The match was played outside under the sun in the blistering heat. Despite the result we still had an outstanding performance in the shape of Ammar Ravji. His defensive performance was one filled with great positioning and some wonderfully timed challenges.
Our third game was against AVA Lions. A passion filled performance by Ammarhussein Lalji ensured the game stayed at 0-0 for the majority of the game but a last minute goal from the opposition stole what should have been a point for our boys.

The penultimate game was against Hyderi Blue. Of course being Hyderi the questionable tactics employed by them were questionable and not spotted by the referee. The SJFA boys weren’t put off by this and kept their heads up, losing by a narrow margin despite the efforts of Mikaeel Merali in between the sticks and Aadam Merali in the middle orchestrating the play.

The final game was where it all started at the Stade de France, against Westwood Dynamos. Being our last game I told the boys to go out there and give it their all and that’s exactly what they did. We went down in the game but went back up the pitch where we got a goal back to make it 2-1. The goal was an absolute beauty following a set piece situation. The ball bounced to our talisman Zain Alibhai who hit an absolute peach of a half volley which flew into the top right hand corner of the goal. We then pushed for the equaliser but were unable to achieve this.

Despite the set of results, the boys put out some inspiring performances that shouldn’t be overlooked and as their coach and an aspiring Unai Emery I was very proud of them.

 Report by Coach Yaseen Valjy

Team: SJFA England
Husain Bhaloo
Zain Dharas
Jaabir Merali
Ali Nurmohamed
Abbas Rajvani
Mikhail Rashid
Coach: Afzal Merali

As the only team with only under-7s, we entered into the tournament with a little bit of trepidation of playing against teams with older players. However the team had worked really well together in training and were ready for the games.

We won our first game against SJFA Brazil with goals from Husain and Ali. Our next match was against AVA Lions. AVA Lions dominated the game but the boys dug in to restrict AVA getting any goal, the match ended one nil to SJFA, courtesy of a last minute goal from Zain. This meant two wins out of two.

The team grew is belief and played excellently together with some great passing moves and grit and passion in defending.

We finished our remaining group games with only one defeat to Northwood FC (the eventual winners of the tournament), finishing second in our group.
We were delighted to make it through to the semi finals of the Plate competition to represent SJFA but sadly lost but with great performances from everyone in the team.

Every player contributed to a collective team display. Husain was committed and disciplined as always and scored a goal as well. Zain with some great passes and shots and trademark in-swinging corners. Jaabir with some great blocks to break up the opposition play and then runs to start counterattacks. Ali with great runs on both swings and shots. Abbas with non-stop passion, last man defending and even playing on with concussion in our last match. Mikhail with good performances both in and out of goal with some great saves including one shot blocked from one yard out straight on his face.

Well done all and will be great to see these boys progress through SJFA.
Report by Coach Afzal Merali

Team: SJFA Spain
Jawaad Dhalla
Junaid Jafferali
Aabis Jafri
Mateen Massoumian
Zaki Ali Mavani
Ali Muktar
Jawaad Tajri
Coach: Nazir Rajvani

SJFA Spain’s first game was against SJFA Germany. Germany’s superiority was evident from the start, the boys held them back with Ali Muktar producing four great saves to keep the game level at 0-0.  There were moments of good movement and dribbling skills showed by Abis and Jawad Tajri.

The second game was against Chalfont. SJFA started brightly Zaki coming close but Chalfont got stronger as the game went on. SJFA continued to absorb pressure from Chalfont but held them to 0-0 draw. Good defending from Junaid and hassling in the middle by Mateen.

The third game was against AVA, one of the strongest team in the group, despite this the boys kept a nil nil score line midway through the game but a sublime strike in the second part of the game and a counter attack movement, AVA went up 2-0 quickly. SJFA however didn’t let that affect them, we witnessed some great defending from Jawaad Dhalla, which kept the score line to a respectable level.

The next match was against Leicester. Leicester started the match strong, taking an early lead, boys however regained control of the game to restrict Leicester to one goal. In the second part of the game, the boys tried to get an equaliser, missing a number of counter attacking chances, Zaki providing good pressure upfront from the wings. Leicester however managed to hold on to their lead.

The final game saw SJFA playing against Westwood, who were more organised, dominated long periods of the game but that didn’t affect SJFA’s resilience, they held Westwood boys to well earned draw, showing sparks of brilliance.

Report by Coach Nazir Rajvani

Team: SJFA Germany
Aiden Hussein
Hossein Habibi
Abbas Juma
Zayn Khatau
Amaan Merali
Hamza Mehrali
Asadali Walji
Coach: Altaf Daya

The team started the tournament strong with the initial fixture against SJFA Spain. Solid performances from Hamza and Hossein resulted in the Spanish goal being pounded throughout the match. The talented and ‘De Gea’-esque reflexes of the young Ali Mukhtar helped keep his team SJFA Spain level at 0-0 and set the tone for the Germans tournament.

The second match against a well drilled Ava Tigers started really testing the defence. Abbas took this opportunity to shine, playing the sweeper role well and cleaning up the oppositions forward penetrations. Forced rotation meant that after Abbas came off, the Ava tigers took advantage and managed to slot 3 past the defence.

The third match against Westwood rovers proved to be a true test of composure. The deadlock was finally broken with a penetrating run from the Energiser bunny that was Hamza and a deft square ball across the box left Aidan with an open goal. Deftly Aidan was able to control well and finally break the German scoring duck. However, keeper rotation left the team exposed at the back and 2 dropped catches later, the German team exited the game one goal shy.

The penultimate game saw the German team schooled in a manner akin to the way they schooled Brazil in the last world cup. Germany was unable to get out of their own half, leaving Amaan on the halfway line awaiting a breakaway opportunity for the whole match. 7-0 later the teams heads dropped.

Asadali and Zayn were determined to start the final game on a positive note. Their pressing lead to an opportunity taken by Hamza to put Germany in front again. However, as the game wore on, their energy levels dropped and left the team exposed at the back and the wiley team from Leicester took advantage and slotted in 3 goals in quick succession.

Similar to their namesake, the SJFA German team headed home from the tournament prematurely. Though I am sure this will not be the last we have heard from these young guns. The boys displayed football

Report by Coach Altaf Daya

Team: SJFA Argentina
Maisam Ahmed
Yusuf Atmani
Aliraza Damani
Aadam Dewji
Aliabbas Janmohamed
Rayyaan Ali Merali
Coach: Ashiqali Damani

Months of hard work on the training pitch with repetitive drills, attentive listening to coaches, penalty practice and tactical analysis that any player would be proud of. Such was the discipline endured that when it came to the morning of the Salaam Cup very few nerves were experienced, rather, the players were raring to go, in super confident moods based on all the hard work they had invested. The quality of teams that SJFA Argentina were matched against nor the sweltering hot weather seemed to fluster them.

Westwood Rangers
Fully tanked up with breakfast and warm up complete, it was time to take on the first opposition Westwood Rangers. From the offset you could see that this team were so well connected that nothing would disseminate the discipline of their formations during matches and this was a trend that continued during all their games.  Aside from me contentious corner from the opposition the rest of the game demonstrated full domination of midfield supported by a resolute defence and sharp pressing up front. The only issue was Rayaanali felt aloof in goal with such little to do, such was the domination of the first game.  Aadam Dewji with both goals, smartly tucked away with good power and precision backed up buy a hard-working team to offer such opportunities in front of goal.  Special appreciation goes to our revolving defenders, (Yusuf, Maisam and Aliabbas) who never once failed to man-mark and cover off Westwood strikers when called upon. 2-0 victory, elation as well as relief knowing that the abundant preparation was now reaping the reward and the plans were evidently working.  A massive boost for the kids. All of them smiling from ear to ear and sharing cakes and drinks during a well-earned break before their next fixture.
Result: won 2-0

SJFA Argentina used their break time to not only socialise and nibble on snacks but to also scope the opposition before playing them.  This was a team that made SJFA Argentina anxious especially due to the sheer physicality of most of their players.  This was no ordinary match, this was a rerun of a fixture we had played a few months ago and had lost, badly. The result of this match would be a true litmus test of how much we have progressed and developed over the last few months. Giants against us black uniformed warriors. Every single tackle, 50-50, second balls equally contested, throw in to them, throw in to us, long range shots from us, same from them. A tight match, neither defences buckled, both goalies up to the task. Yusuf, Maisam, Aliabbas and Rayaanali especially demonstrating their ruggedness to not allow any leaks in our midfield and defence. Who would’ve thought a nil-nil draw would get such a standing ovation from the crowd? But indeed that is what these fighters got. Tired, sweaty, breathing heavy but worth every ounce of effort to draw against such a powering team that we recently struggled against.
Result, drew 0-0

Buy now SJFA Argentina were very well-versed as to how their team would need to attack and also defend as a unit.  The synergy between these players was something to behold and this match demonstrated their psychic abilities to interchange positions and support each other when transitioning between defence and attack and vice versa. Aliabbas showing such dogged determination on the ball and reading the oppositions play. Maisam showing such tenacity when winning the ball back and passing to find fellow players, Yusuf as always showing calmness under pressure, Aliraza with deft manoeuvres leaving behind fallen defenders and pinching a goal, Aadam on a rampage whacking home two goals that will be ones to watch again and again and savour. Star of the show however? It’s got to be Rayaanali, (also known as Pogba in this match), how did he possibly manage to run through this team so many times? But that he did and at the end of one of those special windy runs, he slams home a cracker in the bottom corner, keeper no chance and the parents’ cheers and applauds can be heard outside the arena! Proud parents shouting encouragement from the sidelines and a coach who lost control and had to lift the players up into the sky amongst all the excitement and elation.
Result, won 4-0

AVA Panthers
This of course was the team to beat in our group. They had pulverised others other teams that morning but our boys were brimmed with confidence following the performances prior to this encounter. We knew they would be a tough team to overcome therefore we switched our formation to be more defensive and upped our pace especially in defence. We were so unlucky with the number of shots we attempted both from long range as well as from kick offs. Although this was a humbling defeat, the boys learnt so much about during this game and it will only stand them in good stead for future tournaments. Both the parents and the coaches could see that through the unfortunate outcome, our players had actually grown mentally and tactically. Yes we had lost, but this experience has made us stronger.
Result, lost 0-5

Birmingham Green
Time to make amends and get back to winning ways. The boys showing again, evident cohesion, vision and understanding through beautiful passes and passages of play. Not only in open play but the intelligence shown for set pieces showed maturity beyond their age. As a collective, the team were creating golden opportunities for the front players. Aadam with two stonking goals backed up but a fortuitous goal by Aliraza.
Result 3-0

Gutting that we were unable to progress through to the knockout stage because of goal difference, (and only by 2 goals!). However, the boys far, far exceeded expectations. Not just the fact that the same opposition had showed us up only a few months ago, but also that we approached it with such great game intelligence and stylish football. A key message to future opposition, watch out for this team, they’re hungry, they’re determined and they’re growing together faster than we imagined. A definite force to be reckoned with, missed out this time by only a whisker! Boys, you did awesome!….bring on MAMT 🙂

Written by Coach Ashiq Damani

Team: SJFA France
Deen Ali
Muhammad Mahdi Govani
Isa Ali Sumar
Mehdi Abbas Juma
Imran Merali
Alijawad Taqi
Hassan Valjy
Coach: Sajjad Taqi

The much awaited day and the excitement surrounding the Salaam Cup had truly begun. The players were raring to go and couldn’t wait to get on the pitch.

The first match started slowly against Peterborough. As the game went on the players grew in confidence and with some brilliant saves from the goalkeeper Muhammad Mahdi, we pressed hard up front to find that decisive goal. The match ended with the teams sharing the points.

Our next match was against Harrow Stars who were of course one of the favourites to top the group. The players showed great composure despite trailing behind and contested till the final whistle. The highlight of the match was Mehdi Abbas scoring from half way line, an excellent goal. Despite the efforts of the players, we lost the match.

Our next two matches against IGK2 and Hyderi Yellow were a tough contest and despite the physical advantage of the opposition, the players demonstrated great ability in holding the play and showing maturity. This was a great learning experience for the players and in spite of the loss, it only made them grow stronger mentally and physically.

The final match was against Birmingham Blue and the players were determined to finish on a high note. With some early pressing from Hassan and Imran, the breakthrough came with a brilliant passing from the defence and a great finish by Mehdi Abbas. This was one of the proudest moment as a coach to witness from the sideline the sheer joy and happiness on the players’ faces when we won the match.

Despite not going through, the boys showed tremendous ability and calmness. Deen and Isa Ali were at the heart of the midfield breaking up play. Alijawad and Imran put up a great display in defence with some vital blocks and goal line saves. Hassan and Mehdi Abbas linked up play in attack with beautiful passing. And Muhammad Mahdi was the vital last man in goal with some fabulous saves to keep us in the game. We have a great array of players to choose from, thanks to the SJFA. The boys left the tournament with their heads held high.

Report by Coach Sajjad Taqi

Tier 3 – Under 9’s and 10’s match report

Team: SJFA Brazil
Finally the day had arrived for The Salaam Cup. Sun was shining even though we were indoors, but the atmosphere was buzzing.

This tournament has a lot of difficult teams, as many of them play in leagues and train two or three times a week. So we were going to be up against in from minute one.

The team consisted of the following players:
Zain Lakhani (G)
Husayn Merali
Haani Merali
Shakir Moledina
Jahn Ali
Aun Kassam
Yacine Atmani
Maitham Hassanali
Hussein Alibhai

The first match was our most difficult match vs AVA. We had lost to this team in the past by a big margin. This time around we played much better, we defended well, and had a few chances, but they had more experience and you could see that in some of their moves. End score was 4-0.

The second match was against Leicester United. This was a match we thought we could get some points. We started off well, and it was one way traffic for most of the game. They had a few chances but Zain did really well in goal, and our defence were solid with Husayn, Shakir and Hussein.

Maitham and Yacine had a good match upfront, and their goalkeeper kept them in the game. Aun controlled the midfield and spread the ball well. In the end we couldn’t find the net but it wasn’t due to the lack of shots. The score ended as a goalless draw.

The third match was against CFA Jaguars. They were another team who trained together and played in leagues. Our boys fought well, and did manage to pass the ball into areas where we caused a few problems for the opponents, but their goalkeeper came to the rescue. Jaguars started to pile on the pressure in the second half and managed to score a couple past us, and the scored ended up being 2-0 to the Jaguars.

Last and Final match was against Harrow Stars. We changed a few things around, Aun Kassam went in goal and Zain came out onto the pitch. As it was the last game and the team new they weren’t going to get through to the next stage, our best performance was displayed. The team played freely with no pressure, and the passing was crisp and they looked like they were enjoying themselves. Maitham had a few good shots, and Zain in his new role also had a couple of shots that the keeper saved. Yacine came the closest but again their defence managed to block the shots. We pushed up as a team and kept pressuring them. Alas, they made one break and managed to score past us. That didn’t break our spirits, as we carried on, but time ran out, and eventually we lost 1-0.

The team’s overall attitude was great, even when they were in losing positions they kept encouraging each other.

Tahir Alloo (Coach)

Team: SJFA England
Coach: Sabir Datoo
Mikaeel Dadlani (C)
MohammedHassan Rashid (GK)
Abbasali Muraj
Uzayr Mawjee
Hasnain Jiwa
Taha Hansraj
Asad Ali Bandali
Sajjad Husayn Kanani
Mehdi Waljee

On a very hot day, half the team had arrived in the morning, to support the other teams and enjoy the other day. The other half of the team took the opportunity to rest and be fresh for our afternoon kick off. The team were in good spirits before the matches and had a good warm up in preparations for the group stages. We knew that it would be tough to go through as we had a very competitive group.

SJFA England 3 – 0 Zainabiya MK
The first game started quickly, as we dominated the possession and tried to get the ball upfront as quickly as possible to test the opposition keeper.

Within the first few minutes we got a kick in on the right hand side, as decided before this was Abbasali’s duty, and he took a long shot which caught the keeper off-guard and put us ahead. The team kept pushing forward and we got another kick in on the right hand side, Mikaeel had seen what Abbasali had done, and did the same on the other side.. SJFA doubled their lead. With a double substitution Asad Ali came on and decided to attack more, not happy with two goals, Mikaeel hit a long range free kick into the goal.. 3-0! After winning a penalty, unfortunately Mikaeel missed the chance for his hattrick but it was a great performance.

The stand out players were all three defenders – Taha, Uzayr and Sajjad, with the help of Hasnain who kept a clean sheet and stopped any shots on goal. They won every tackle and made defending look easy.

SJFA England 0 – 3 IGK 2
This was always going to be our toughest game, and we knew that we had to pull together as a team. The team defended brilliantly, and soaked up a lot of pressure from the IGK team, who ended up in the finals of the tournament. An incredible double save from MohammedHassan, kept the goal difference down to 3 goals.

SJFA England 0 – 1 Leicester All Stars
This was the tightest game of the group stages, there were chances on either side, the team started well putting tackles in everywhere, whilst the defence remained solid for most the game. We were unfortunate with a few of our shots and couldn’t get the goal we needed. After several diving saves by MohammedHassan, Leicester managed to score a wonder goal – long range shot, which even David De Gea wouldn’t have been able to save.

SJFA England 1 – 2 CFA Lions
This was the last game, and we had to win it to stand a chance of going through to the knock out. We were playing a team who hadn’t lost any of their games, but the team we positive that they could get the result.

The game had a crazy start, which I have never seen before.. CFA Lions took centre, they shot straight from centre and hit the top corner. They were 1 goal up with the first kick of the game. Mikael however had other plans, whatever they could do, he could do better.. and from centre he took a shot which zipped past the keeper.. 1-1 after 2 kicks in the game. The team celebrated doing Sajda, and then got back into positions.. they set up a wall for the next centre kick. The CFA Lions player did exactly the same thing, but this time MohammedHassan produced a flying save to punch it out for a corner. This ended up being an end to end game, with lots of shots, CFA Lions managed to break through the defence and scored the winning goal.

The team tried to get one back, with Mehdi running around the whole pitch, but there wasn’t enough time and the game ended 1-2.

The team made me proud as their coach as they never gave up at any time. They were always positive in their approach in going for goal and asking me how many points/wins we needed. The defence acted like soldiers, and showed they were not scared to go against any of the external teams. But most importantly they showed great team spirit throughout, topped off buy a great performance in the first game!

Special awards go to:
Golden Boot – Mikaeel Dadlani (3 goals)
Player of the tournament – MohammedHassan Rashid (GK)
A big thank you to all the organisers who made the event possible, and the parents supporting the team!

By Sabir Datoo

Team: SJFA Spain

I was very honoured to coach the SJFA Spain team in Salaam Cup. We had a strong team who were very united and excited to be competing in the tournament.

My squad was:
Coach: Abbas Ismail
Suhail Merali (GK)
Munsif Kassamali
Deen Pirbhai
Abbas Ali Ladha
Yusuf Shahrestani
Ali Mehdi Abbas Ismail
Adam Valjy
Husayn Gulamhussein
Sajjad Suleman

I had decided to play a 2-1-2-1 formation, with Deen and Munsif in defence, Abbas Ali / Husayn holding, Ali and Yusuf in the middle, and Adam / Sajjad as the striker.

Our first game was against IGK and we started very strongly. We had a lot of possession, but their defence was very good and they did not let us have any clear chances. They produced one attack, and somehow scrambled a goal into our net. We lost 1 – 0. Munsif had a great game and was very solid at the back, defending everything that came his way.

Our second game was against arch-rivals Hyderi. The boys played exceptionally, and we scored a number of great goals: Deen opened the scoring with a long range effort, Yusuf powered the second one through a crowd of players, Munsif hit a third from the back which sailed into the net, and Sajjad finished clinically to give us a 4 – 0 win. A few years ago, Hyderi would beat us now and then, and always give us a good game, but I feel we have come a long way since then and we are clearly very much stronger now.

The next game we played was against Peterborough, Yusuf and Ali Mehdi got the goals in a 2 – 0 win.

In our final group game we played Northwood, who were very strong indeed and we lost 3 – 1 despite a great performance and resolute defending, Adam scored our goal from the centre spot. Credit to Suhail for making some amazing saves.

It so happened that we lost out on qualification by just one point which was very disappointing for me and all the boys. However, they really did us proud with their performances, akhlaq, and team spirit.


Tier 4 – Under 11’s and 12’s match reports:

We had 43 boys that registered for The Salaam Cup in our Tier with a mixture of abilities and 5 teams were formed – Brazil, England, Spain, Germany & Argentina. Brazil & England were the most experienced having played together for most of the season with Spain, Germany and Argentina had a mixture of players who had some experience mixed with the less experienced members.

Team: SJFA Brazil
Coach: Fuad Musa
Ali Dewji
Alireza Hamir
Hassan Merali Dewji (C)
Jaabir Walji
Mohamedmahdi Janmohamed
Muhammad Abbas Jaffer Kassamali
Muhammad Mahdi Panju (GK)
Sami Merali
Shaahid Alimohamed

This team was our most experienced and carried the hopes for our tier. The boys did not disappoint, winning all the group games with ease, scoring 18 and conceding only 1 in our 5 games. Our team was playing some sumptuous football that left me proud that they had come so far in their footballing development. Many of the teams proud parents were approaching me during the day to say how impressed they were with the way the boys were performing.

We won our league and we were too play the team that beat us in last years Final in this years Semi-Final. The boys were nervous but positive, the game saw few chances and the battle was played out in midfield. The game ended 0-0 and went straight to penalties. Both teams had 5 penalties each and all of them were taken exceptionally well. We lost 5-4 in the end with our missed penalty hitting the inside of the post. The difference between the two teams was literally inches!

The team had gelled and there was an understanding that only comes over time and a long period of playing together. It was plain to see another year on in the development of SJFA significant improvement is being made in the footballing development of our boys.

The team spirit, attitude, akhlaq coupled with the performances left me and my coaches very proud of all our tier players.
Now our focus shifts to MAMT where we aim to retain the title we hold.

Fuad Musa (Manager)

Team: SJFA England
Coach: Nazir Dewji
Abbas Chandoo (GK)
Ali Khatau (C)
Ali Rayhan Merali
Alizaman Alibhai
Amir Massoumian
Aqil Karawalli
Husayn Ali Abbas Ismail
Rohan Malik
Yasin Merali

SJFA England exited Salaam Cup 2018 on penalties. Until a few days ago, those of us with world cup memories could probably have predicted that but this doesn’t tell the true picture of what was a glorious tournament for these boys. They remained unbeaten throughout the tournament, played some superb football and conceded only one goal.

It all started with one of the toughest matches for the team against SJFA Spain. We managed to get through 1-0 but we definitely learned a lot from this game that helped us later in the tournament. Ali Zaman showed why he has improved so much over the course of the season. Exposed once in this game with a long ball over the top, he immediately learned from that and throughout the rest of the tournament his positional play and his all-round defending was exceptional. Alongside him Aquil was his usual strong, determined self, intercepting numerous balls and providing another effective barrier. However, he has added to his game over the course of the year with more confidence to direct the rest of his team mates and adding distribution to his game. With these 2 at the back, we had strong foundations for the rest of the tournament.

Next game was against our nemesis AVA who we had lost to a few times in friendlies during the course of the season. There was a new found confidence in the team and we drew 0-0. It was also good to see real disappointment in the team at only getting a draw as we had created the chances to win this game handsomely. Special mention to Abbas Chandoo for his excellent performances in goal. For someone who has not been playing in goal at all to have the natural ability to play there is one thing but the way he sacrificed his own desire to play outfield for the team as a whole was a credit to him and his parents.

The third game was our most enjoyable one. Despite being on top throughout against Leicester, we went one goal down with only a few minutes to play. The exuberant celebrations from the Leicester team and coaching staff must have motivated our team as, within 1 minute of the restart, we had equalised. With only a few seconds left, a corner was floated in and Hussein jumped high at the far post and headed in the winner. The smile did not leave his face for the rest of the day and I think is still on the face of his proud dad who witnessed this. For the coaching staff, this was what we had worked on in the last 2 training session instead of playing matches – the boys now understanding why.

Another win in the next game and confidence was high. Ali Rayhan was very influential as he covered a lot of ground up and down the pitch and also delivered a quality dead ball. He was also scoring goals from midfield which was invaluable to the team.

Final group game and we needed a win to top the group. Unfortunately this was after lunch. We came back from this looking a little ‘full’ and did not have the same energy as before. I think we will have to look at whether the boys should be eating lunch and ice cream etc in the middle of a tournament or whether we could maybe ask them to hold off a for a bit longer. We drew 0-0 and lost out on top spot in the league on goal difference only.

We entered the plate with confidence that we could win the trophy but drew 0-0 to Chalfont and then lost on penalties. Ali Khatau scored one of the most assured penalties first up and showed what talent and technique he has which will take him far if he continues to apply it all the time. Yasin did likewise and was superb throughout. A real pleasure to have on our team. He asked me after the first game whether he was doing too may tricks and flicks. With talent like that as a coach you just say absolutely not and just go out there an showcase what skills you have.

Someone always has to miss and this time in fell on Rohan which was particularly cruel as he had been one of the best players in the tournament. Tears flowed for a few seconds but the rest of the team lifted his spirits and it was good to see him enjoy the rest of the day laughing and joking with the team.

One final mention to Amir who we had to let go to another SJFA team as they were short of players. He still supported this team throughout and watched all our games. He still was very much part of this success and a nicer, more polite boy you would have to go a long way to find.

On reflection, a good tournament for the boys. They showed how much they had improved over the season and rested doubts from the coaches as to whether this was the case. They are only getting better and better.

Nazir Dewji

Team: SJFA Spain
Coach: Asgherali Gulamhussein
Abbas Alloo (GK)
Abbas Asaria
Abid Hasan Ravji
Ammaar Ali Bandali
Hassan Merali
Hussain Merchant
Qasim Hadi
Zahidali Jamal

With registration, breakfast and welcome speeches all done and dusted by 9:00, the boys were all eager to get started with playing football.

The first match pitted us against SJFA England which was a tightly contested affair with a narrow loss. The passing and commitment shown in the game was a joy to behold, and the boys were extremely unlucky not to have won the game or come out with a credible draw. Having lost the first game, the boys did not let their heads drop, which was good to see.

The rest of the group matches did not go according to plan, not for the want of trying though, as the boys gave it their all in the remaining matches.

Inspired keeping by the opposition goalie and the regularity with which we hit the woodwork meant that the desired results could not be achieved, and we bowed out of the cup in the group stage.

I must commend the efforts that the boys put in throughout the matches, the encouragement and the camaraderie between the boys even when things were not going well was great to see.

The experience gained in this tournament should hold the boys in good stead for MAMT, which I’m confident will see positive results being achieved by the team.

Asgherali Gulamhusein (Coach)

Team: SJFA Argentina
Coach: Fuad Musa/Nazir Dewji
Ali Asaria
Husein Visram
Mohammed Ali Chandoo (GK)
Mujtaba Hussein Dewji
Salman Mukhtar
Shayaan Abbas Mirza
Zainali Rajabali

The SJFA Argentina team gave fantastic commitment in every single group stage game. The team can be proud of their work-rate and dedication. The team spirit and camaraderie the boys exhibited was wonderful. With some further training over the next few months, this team will definitely be one to keep an eye on at MAMT 2018!

Team: SJFA Germany
Coach: Kumail Jaffer
Aqeel Bhimani (GK)
Husayn Gulamhusein
Jabir Dhalla
Kumail Esmail
Muhammad Aqeel Mavani
Mohammed Mohsin Kanani
Taha Rashid
Zain Muhammed Valji

Stanmore Germany exceeded expectations to put in some really encouraging performances in the tournament. Inspired by the manager’s emphasis on tactics, the team’s 2-1-2-1 (wide forward) formation did the trick against Stanmore Argentina in the opening match as Stanmore Germany ran out 3-0 winners thanks to some fluid play and excellent finishes from Taha Rashid, Mohammed Mohsin Kanani and Qasim Hadi.
High on confidence, the team lined up in an altered 3-2-1 formation to play IGK – this time, with an extra player in Husayn Gulamhusein up front.

Though even early on, and with goalkeeper Aqeel Bhimani in great form, a couple of goals in quick succession for the opposition consigned the team to a 2-0 loss. Despite this, the offensive play was still looking fluid, and qualification was a realistic outcome at this stage.

The next two games – despite being heavy losses – were encouraging in their own way. The players did their best to keep their heads up and play to the final whistle. This doesn’t happen many times in the professional game, and is a testament to the players’ mental attitudes.

With qualification out of the picture and the team playing for pride, the formation reverted back to the 2-1-2-1 played in the opener and the players readied themselves for their final game against Hyderi. Taha Rashid – now in goal – made some excellent saves to keep out a high-tempo Hyderi side, while Aqeel – now in midfield – linked up very well with the attacking players. Unfortunately, Hyderi’s structure was excellent and Stanmore could not break them down on the counter-attack, as planned. After opening the scoring following a questionable free kick, Hyderi grabbed another and although the score read 2-0, Stanmore Germany certainly ended their Salaam Cup campaign on a spirited performance.

Indeed, whether it be Aqeel Bhimani or Taha Rashid’s versatile talent in goal and outfield, Husayn Gulamhusein’s ability to fill in any position well, Jabir Dhalla’s technical ability on the ball, Muhammad Aqeel Mavani’s ability to press the opposition, Mohammed Mohsin Kanani’s pace (which proved useful on many occasions) or Abid Hasan Ravji’s ability to go past players, the whole team made valuable contributions to the overall performance. I couldn’t be more proud of them throughout the tournament, and I’m sure this group of players have a lot of potential, both as individuals and together as a side.

Kumail Jaffer (Coach)

Tier 5 – Under 13’s and 14’s match reports:

Team: SJFA England
Once again as a coach of a team at Salaam Cup, I walk away with special memories, special moments and special interactions.

Ali Abbas Suleiman (GK)
Sajjad Shabbir (Captain)
Ali Jeganathan
Zia Dewji
Qassim Kanani
Kumail Merali
Muhammad Gulamhusein
Husayn Yahya Merali
Jameel Walji

In the group phase we played 3 matches, winning two: (1-0) & (2-0) and a draw (1-1) finishing top of our group with 7 points and qualifying to the semi finals.

Despite losing in the Semi-finals to the eventual winners Harrow Stars 1 (6-0), there were so many positives from the day that the boys should be really proud off.

It was a genuine team performance, where every single player played a part in the first three matches to ensure we not only remained unbeaten, but topped the group that included: Birmingham, AVA B and CFA B!
Ali Abbas Suleiman once again turned as he has done consistently throughout the season, and not only did he pull of some exceptional saves, most notably a save with the outside of his left foot against Birmingham with 3 mintutes left, but also, we knew that it needed something special to get past him which gave his defenders and his team a lot of confidence!

Ali Jeganathan, the only player who did not get substituted, battled, fought, tackled, stood tall and left everything on the pitch playing at right back. Ali had an exceptional tournament solid at the back and always tracking back putting himself on the line on many occasions especially the semi-final match v Harrow Stars 1.

Ali’s partner at left back was captain Sajjad Shabbir, whose calmness over the ball and vision in bringing the ball out from the back enabled us to play some excellent football, a worthy captain who kept encouraging his team mates, and ensuring they weren’t being distracted by Messi on the big screen. He has a presence and a personality of a captain.

Muhammad Gulamhusein (AKA Kante), one of the most versatile players on the team, double footed, he ran, and ran and ran and every coaches dream when it comes to energy, effort and attitude. He alternated between slotting in at left back when we played 1-3-2-1 and down the left wing when we needed some attacking flair!

Qassim Kanani, unfortunately was a huge loss to the team having picked up an injury in PE at school 3 days before Salaam Cup, however, despite being able to only play between between 7-12 minutes the whole tournament, he made an exceptional contribution in scoring a goal in our first match when he came on as a substitute.

Kumail Merali, with his very abled and skilled left ensured we had the balance we needed in the team and played very well in bursts and used his skill very well in holding the ball up, step overs and delivering low drilled balls from the left and the corners which he mainly took. Also made some key tackles which is something he has been working on this season.

Husayn Yahya Merali our impact substitute made a significant impact in centre midfield every time he came on, his main strength is slowing the game down, holding the ball and weaving his passes through the pitch, on to the path of the wingers and Jameel who played upfront.

Our best goal of the day involved a lovely trio of passes between Husayn Yahya, Jameel and Zia against Birmingham in the third match.

Zia Dewji our right wing maestro who also alternated at centre midfield, played a key part in 3 of our goals, assisting in the first two and scoring an exceptional goal from the right that hit the bottom left hand corner after a flowing move! Zia’s best gift is his deft touches, his vision and the ability to pull a goal out of nowhere!

Jameel Walji probably had one of his best tournaments to date! He was focused, strong and really up for it. Scored an exceptional back heel 2 minutes after coming on as a sub in the second game, then scored an excellent goal from Zia’s pass in the third game and rolled out the final pass for Zia to make it 2-0 against Birmingham that ended up in a memorable celebration!

Overall, an excellent tournament, that we have also gained invaluable experience from!

Thank you to the parents for your support, a special mention to my Manager Hussein Pirbhai Jnr (who is getting married on 14 July) for his ongoing support and my fellow Tier Coaches Shams Janmohamed and Gibran Pirbhai for an excellent season together!

Abbas Merali
SJFA England

Team: SJFA Germany
Coach: Gibran Pirbhai
Ammar Kassam (GK)
Salman Jafferali
Baseer Kazmi
Eshan Gangji
Mohammed Baqir Lilani
Yousuf Datoo
Kazim Ali Abbas Ismail
Mohammad Ali Hasnain

SJFA Germany were first up against CFA Lions B. The boys worked extremely hard keeping the tie 0-0 for the majority of the game. However, with 3 minutes left we conceded a goal that could’ve been avoided. With that we went on to concede another 2 with the game finishing 3-0. Next up were Jellot who had a really strong team. The game ended 5-0, however the effort put in by the boys was once again commendable. Last up were Harrow Stars B and it was an uphill battle from the start. The tie finished 7-0. Overall the boys put in maximum effort and we learnt a lot as individuals and as a team that will help us going forward.

Tier 6 – Under 15’s and 16’s match reports:

Team: SJFA Brazil
Mikaeel Jaffer (GK)
Azim Meghji
Muntazir Ramji
Mahdi Ladha
Mohammedmehdi Karim
Sameer Kanji
Qasim Suleman
Imran Dewji (C)
Mohammed Javad Virjee
Coach Hassnain

The players were always going to be a little apprehensive for the 1st match. We had most of the possession and had many shots but the our finishing let us down, there was no danger of us conceeding and we won comfortably. Early days.

SJFA 0-2 Belmont A
We set up with 3 in defence and to play on the counter attack. Some amazing tackles. we commited 2 fouls just outside the penalty area and Belnont took full advantage scoring from both, both clinical, one top right and the other bottom left. Even de gea wouldn’t have saved them. The defence looked solid.

SJFA 6-0 Peterborough
We needed a win and boy did we get it. I set up with a 2-2-2 attacking formation and it worked a treat. Winning the ball higher up the field and attacking in numbers. The players made it look easy.

SJFA 0-1 Al Akber Foundation
The game plan was to play a 3-3 formation soak up the presure and then bring on the fresh legs to attack when the opposition were tierd. Literally 1 min left we give away a free kick in our own half the referee gives our player a blue card. 2 minutes sin bin. They score with 30 seconds on the clock. All we needed was a draw. And we would have gone thru to the semi-finals.

Coach’s review.

Not letting in a single goal in open play shows that our defence is strong, however we need to have confidence in ourselves. The players are more than capable and have the technical ability to match any of the teams in the tournament. We maybe lacking in fittnes but if the players keep formation and stick to the game plan we will achieve our objectives.

Our best performance was when we played the ball on the ground with close link up play.

The players put in a valiant effort and I’m very proud of them all.

Team: SJFA England
Muneeb Kazmi (GK)
Zainali Bandali (C)
Alireza Mussa
Abbas Datoo
Mohammed Abbas Lilani
Sajjad Janmohamed
Ammaar-Ali Jetha
Haider Virjee
Yasir Merali
Abid Karawalli
Coach Mazarali

SJFA England 5-0 Zainabiyya MK
SJFA England got off to a flying start with Haider Virjee scoring a brace very early in to the game, and came inches away from a five minute hat trick. This was followed by a goals from the captain Zainali bandali , Yasir Merali and Alireza Mussa, with Abid Karawalli also coming close.

SJFA England 0-1 Leicester
SJFA changed formation to a 3-2-1 as they prepared to play the eventual winners Leicester. Sajjad Tommy got the start joining MohammedAbbas Lilani and Abbas Datoo in defence. Ammaar Jetha played an inch perfect pass to Zainali early on who was denied by a brilliant save. The game was very tight and a last minute goal from Leicester’s number 8 denied SJFA from what would have been a well deserved point.

SJFA England 1-0 Belmont B
Reverting back to the 2-3-1 formation, Haider Virjee opened the game with another great finish with his weak foot as SJFA coasted to win the final game of the group stage, advancing to the semi finals.

SJFA England 0-2 Belmont A
This game started off very tight, with goalkeeper Muneeb Kazmi making a few really good saves. Belmont however were more in control and scored two well worked goals, bringing an end to a great performance at Salaam cup 2018 from SJFA England.

A huge thanks to those who came and gave their support. It was fantastic to see so much quality in the u16’s category.

A couple of points to remember for future;

Please respect the boundaries of the pitch, and not encroach onto the field, also please don’t shout out instructions and tatics to the players.

A special thanks to the Marshalls and salaamteers who did an amazing job throughout the tournament in the sweltering heat.

Under u16s manager
FA Level 1
Futsal level1