Muhammad Madhi Panju (GK)
Hassan Merali Dewji
Ali Reza Hamir
In our first match for what seemed like ages, we played AVA a Romanian team who are at a similar stage of development to us in that they had been going as a club for about 18 months.
We were therefore expecting a tight game and that is exactly what we got.
Playing nine-a-side, our team started very well indeed and much of the play was in the opposition half. However a quick counter attack and we were one-nil down. The team were not at all downhearted and we soon equalised and in that period in the first half we played some of our best football at this level.
For the previous couple of training sessions, the coaching team had been working on not bunching up and spreading out and it was delightful to see this put into practice on the pitch in a game situation. 2 of our goals came from pushing the ball wide with crosses into the centre with a finish by an attacking player running into the box. In fact one of our goals could have come straight out of a coaching manual with the goalkeeper Panju rolling it out wide to Shaahid AP who passed in down the line to Ali Dewji. Ali put in a through ball to Sami who timed his run well to get in behind the defence on the right hand side. Sami got to the by-line crossed the ball in over their keeper’s head and Hassan came in and side-foot volleyed the ball into the net. Hours of coaching (or maybe hours of playing FIFA) coming to fruition in one 10 second move.
The first half ended 3-3.
However, some of our players started getting wound up by the other team’s niggles and verbals. We must be able to put all of that to one side and concentrate at playing football. The talent that we have at our disposal at this level means that if we continue to play football and ignore such distractions, we will always have a chance against any team. We lost 3 quick goals early in the second half but rallied to pull one back and the match ended 8-6.
It was a game we could and perhaps should have won and the players will be looking to put this right in the return match in 2 weeks’ time. We saw enough in this game and the subsequent training session on Sunday to have every confidence that they will. The coaching team will take the learning from this game and will work on transition from defence to midfield to attack and from attack to midfield to defence as part of our preparations for the next game.
Special mention goes to Hassan who was involved in a collision going for a 50:50 ball in the second half. He fell awkwardly and hurt his shoulder as a result. He was substituted and his arm was put in a sling that was obtained out of our first aid kit as he made his way to hospital for an x-ray. We are very thankful to Sami’s mum and Aqil Karawalli’s dad for being on hand to assist in such a situation. It reinforces how fundamental it is to have at least a couple of parents on the side lines watching the players in case we need some assistance to look after a particular situation. Hassan is injured and out for a few weeks it seems. We wish him well for a speedy recovery and look forward to having him back on our team.