From the start of this season, and in particularly relating to the and Tier1 (Reception and Year 1), the coaches and myself had the belief that with a firm grounding and building a love for the game was more important than any external games or results from these external games.
However, the opportunity knocked on our door and we grabbed it with arms wide open. We had been approached by Hendon FC to play a round robin game between Stanmore Jafferys, Hendon FC and Pinner FC.
It was a proud day for Tier 1 of SJFA, not only for the parents and the coaches, but most importantly a proud day for the kids as this was their first match against external opposition. They got a bargain as they had two matches in one day.
On Saturday 28th of January 2017, the fixture was arranged against Hendon FC. The cold rainy forecast did not dampen the spirits of the boys who were eagerly looking forward to the game that they had been selected for.
The parents were well behaved, and made it to Hendon FC on time, not least because they knew their son’s had to be on time for their first match. Before the warm-up, a moment all the kids will remember – being handed their red SJFA home jerseys – all in the same kit, it was a joy to see.
With more matches expected for Tier 1, we expect most if not all of the tier 1 kids to be play a match over the coming months – our ethos is to give everyone some experience of playing in matches, working as a team and to enjoy themselves.
The kids were put through their paces during the warm up, with a light jog, some dribbling practice, passing and then on to some serious shot taking and penalties. Ahead of them was going to be 2 matches; against Pinner FC (in blue) and Hendon FC (the hosts and in green).
Head Coach Jamil sat the boys down and explained the strategies to them and they were all attentive to Jurgen Klopp’s match Plan.
We were drawn to play Pinner FC first who were well drilled and organised on the day. That did not phase our youngest players one bit who were eager to get onto the field and represent Stanmore as they were selected to represent their community in the first ever external game for this Tier.
This started off with a quick Photograph session with all three team. Our esteemed coach Jamil Merali Refereed the game. I can assure you he was a very good referee at that too. Abbas Khatau took charge of giving orders from the side-line.
The line-up was as follows – Mikhal Rashid and Abbas Rajvani were Forward, while Zayn Khatau, Zain Dharas an Jaabir Merali were in defence while Aiden was in goal.
Spurred on from the victory of the first match, Stanmore started off and pressured Hendon FC and strung a number of passes up front with neat play between Mikhail, Abbas and Zayn Khatau to put into the back of the net. Hendon defence was resolute and it yielded 2 to successive corners.
Hendon’s’ star players were Rory and Lennon who fought back brilliantly. The defence of Zain Khatau and Jaabir Merali kept the green team at bay with some resolute defending.
Mikhail passed the ball across and it ricochet off the Hendon player and Zayn Khatau was in on goal but fouled just as he pulled the trigger in the penalty area.
Whistle blew for a penalty – no one could accuse the home ref for blowing for that clear penalty. Stanmore consulted on who to take the penalty, and that responsibility of dispatching this rested on Zain Dharas’s shoulders. Whistle blew and what a calm, cool composed crisp strike it was that netted Stanmore the first goal in the second game. Even Diego Costa would have been proud of the strike.
Husayn Mawjee was brought on for the semi injured Zayn Khatau and he stuck into the game like a duck to water supporting his fellow team mates. Aide in goal at one stage was playing sweeper keeper making a vital interception at the back.
Second half started where we left off with a desire to net the ball again. Abbas Rajvani showing the tenacity and zest to get onto the scoresheet.
And what a workhorse he was when Jaabir neatly passed the ball through to him and he had one defender and the keeper to pass and coolly slotted the ball in the back of the net. Stanmore were 2-0 up. Stanmore had lots of shots on target by SJFA – one double shot from Jaabir, and another few from Mikhail and some good midfield play from Aiden and Hussein Mawjee.
Final whistle blew.
The experience for our boys in these friendly game is invaluable Here is what we learned:
- We have a very talented tier
- We have parents that have great commitment
- We can raise teams for fixtures
- We impressed the other teams’ coaches and they want to play us again
- We can compete against any opposition
- Great play from the whole team – we look forward to more teamwork form all players
- Great having 2 wins out of 2, but that wasn’t the key aim.
A huge thanks goes to the coordinators and the opposition to host us. Thanks goes to the parents too for taking the time out and supporting the children come rain or shine – and thanks for all the feedback on how we can improve going forward.
The pleasing thing was all the kids enjoyed the match and the experience and were visibly looking forward to their next match.
Going forward we will Inshallah have many more opportunities for the rest of the Tier 1 players so as they say “Watch this Space.”
Abbas Khatau (Tier 1 Manager) & Jamil Merali (Tier 1 Coach)