SJFA Salaam Cup – A Tournament For ALL

As I walked through the front door at 3am, I had two thoughts on my mind. Firstly, praying Salaat and thanking God for providing the Core Team and Salaamteers the energy on a long and scorching hot day to execute what was probably the biggest Stanmore Jafferys/Hujjat event in history. Secondly, how could I get into bed without anyone knowing we were into the early hours of the next day!

The 2018 Salaam Cup attracted approximately 2000 people nationally, bringing people together from different nationalities and faiths but all united for the love of football and spending time with their families.

The months of planning and weeks of detailed preparation (including during long fasts in Ramadhan) culminated in a spectacular event. The energy on the day was apparent, not only from the glorious sunny day we had been blessed with but more so from the energy and the buzz generated by all the people present.

The Salaam Cup epitomizes the beauty of the SJFA – engagement with a wide range of communities and faiths. The Core Team were determined to present a tournament showcasing the amazing Stanmore community and what can be achieved when a community works together in unity.

As I walked around the various “stadiums” I could see swarms of SJFA players donning their new kits black and white (with thanks to Dentistry For You). I must admit our boys looked professional and well presented and I felt very proud that we had finally achieved this goal.

Families from different generations and communities mingled, shared backgrounds, stories and ate mouthwatering food that was on offer from the various menus. My favorites – the SJFA burger and the milkshake stands!

Salaamteers of all ages, once again did not fail to welcome our guests from the moment they entered the Harefield Academy at 8am in the morning, right up until they departed in the evening after saying their goodbyes to their new found friends. Indeed the backbone of our community, our volunteers, never fail to deliver and should be cherished and appreciated.
After a long season, the SJFA coaches once again motivated our boys to bring out the best in them not just on the pitch but more importantly off the pitch where their excellent  behaviour and akhlaq was demonstrating another sign of our values.

The AV team led by Quwsar Sumar and Shahidali Khaki were scurrying across the venue in the early hours of Saturday morning to ensure all aspects of the spectator experience were met including the “WOW” factor World Cup viewing platform for the France v Argentina world cup game. I would personally like to thank Qawsar & Shahidali – two individuals who I have really got to know leading up to the Salaam Cup and who do what they do without so much as a sigh for the love of our community.

The AV team ensured all interviews with our special guests including sponsors were on the big screen but also heard from all corners of Harefield Academy.

The arrival of the FA Cup was a truly magical moment and for me brought back memories of Gerrard scoring the winner against West Ham when Liverpool last won the FA Cup. Not many grassroots clubs get the opportunity to have one of the most famous trophies to be present during a tournament and I hope you were able to make the most of the photo opportunity with your friends and families.

It is always helpful to receive feedback both positive and constructive and I have shared below some of the feedback received to date:

“Mo I just wanted to thank you on behalf of the whole team and parents for a wonderful tournament today. It was brilliantly organised, wonderfully inclusive and everyone had a brilliant time. I’m just sad that the afternoon clashed with our boys’ school fayre and we had to leave after the presentation.
Thanks Ross – Ickenham Youth FC”

“What an eventful Salaam cup
Hats of to the Salaamteers for a well organised tournament
Our boys enjoyed evey moment and have taken good memories from it..we had a record number of parents join their kids for this event, which shows a well entertained event for all

Thank you once again from Leicester contingent.
Salaams and Duas
Anis Rajani

“Salaams all at SJFA and everyone involved in organising such a wonderful tournament today. The Salaam Cup gets better and better each year with so many activities for everyone. Great feedback from players and parents and plenty of memories to cherish. Thank you so much from everyone at Hyderi FC. With salaams and best wishes for future Salaam Cups”

As with many large scale events there are always aspects you can improve on and we have taken such feedback to ensure we further improve next year’s Salaam Cup.

I want to personally thank the CORE TEAM for their passion and drive to deliver a tournament that people will remember for many years to come. With every successful team you need a leader and we are lucky enough to have Hussein Pirbhai, the Salaam Cup project manager. In addition I want to also thank the rest of the Core Team who delivered on so many levels:

Afzal Pradhan
Mustafa Walji
Shafique Govani
Kumail Merali
Mohammed Lahda
Faisal Pradhan
Asifa Pradhan
Raza Hussein
Hyderali Datoo
Safraz Valjy
Hassan Pirbhai
Wasim Fazel

Inshallah, I look forward to seeing you all (and more) at the 2019 Salaam Cup – Watch this space!

With Salaams & Duas
Mohammed Valjy
SJFA Chair