You know it’s finally summer when SJFA play the first game with sun beaming down on us. On Saturday 25th March, SJ’s U12 travelled to Finchley to play against an FA Disability Team. The game would consist of two halves of 15 minutes each way. We would play against a team who had cerebral palsy, a medical condition that affects movement and co-ordination, which includes muscle control. It also means that they fatigue a lot quicker, which is why the halves were a lot shorter to what we’re used to.
After a quick debrief, we were told about all the special rules that we are playing. Here they are:
Roll-in if necessary
Retreat line for goal kick
Adjusted keeper area.
After a quick team warm up and a nice picture we lined up to get started. Here is the squad chosen:
Jameel Walji (GK)
Ali Had Govani (C)
Muhammad Baqir Lilani
Husayn Yahya Merali
Muhammad Mahdi Jahnmohammed
We started with a 3-2-1 formation, getting stuck straight into the match. After a few minutes we scored, with a neat passing move finished off by Hassan Chuzi. As we began to settle into the game, so did the FA Disability side. They began testing us with long balls, all of which were successfully countered. Within five minutes we were 4-0 up, and scoring well. Very soon however it was not to be a clean sheet. Their team’s star man took the ball from the halfway line, and smashed it into the back of the net, nut-megging Jameel on its way!
It was a superb goal, celebrated as much by their team as ours, with our team giving him all the plaudits. However, this didn’t get in the way of our game, and we scored a few more to make it 10-1, with Hassan bagging 7, Zia scoring 2 and Ali Hadi turning in a cross for his first. There were also a few assists and 2nd assists for Zia and Husayn Yahya.
It was a resounding team performance, though taking nothing away from the other side. We went into the 2nd half much the same, with our subs replacing four of the original side. Some more attacking football, and SJFA scored another few, with Ali Khatau scoring 1. Down at the other end, their strike force managed to score another. Still SJ came and Yousuf scored a double. Husayn Yahya subbed with Jameel in goal, and Jameel made a fantastic and immediate impact, scoring as soon as he got out. Another few saves were made, and some golden 3 on 1 and 4 on 1 opportunities were missed by the FA side, who could not capitalise on almost-non-existent defence, with Ali Sheikh being the lone man. The final whistle blew and SJFA went to shake hands with the opposition, showing fantastic sportsmanship. In the end SJFA won 13-1, a fantastic team win.
By Husayn Yahya Merali