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.
Both sets of coaches agreed to 6v6, which meant both teams had 1 sub.
Over the past few weeks at the Hive, the kids have had more time to play matches against each other with the aim of preparing the kids for a real match situation. Despite that, all of the Tier 1 coaches (even those not present on the day) were a bit apprehensive of this first match. Mohsin Mawjee had 2 roles on the day – coaching, but also looking after his younger son – so Abbas Khatau and Jamil Merali took responsibility for giving the orders from the side-lines. Husayn Mawjee started in goal with Abbas Rajvani and Zayn Dharas in defence. Up top, SJFA started with Mikhail Rashid, Aiden Hussein and Zayn Khatau.
The kids quickly got into a good rhythm playing a few neat passes to each other with Zayn Khatau trying to make a break on a few occasions having the ball passed through from Abbas Rajvani and Zahn Dharas from the back. The ploy of Zayn Khatau counter attacking paid off after Mikhail slid the ball through and SJFA were 1-0 up with Zayn Khatau scoring.
Pinner FC battled back and after a bit of sustained pressure, it was 1-1. Some good tackling from SJFA with Aiden Hussein making some important touches, and the half time whistle below.
Second half started with a small change in formation – Aiden Hussain came off for Jaabir Merali who moved to right back and Abbas Rajvani moving to the top. Pinner FC had a young lad, Ollie, who was really good on the ball and neat skills. However, Zayn Dharas and Jaabir Merali kept him in check at the back with resolute defending. Pinner FC had one shot on target from outside the area but Hussein Mawjee made a great save to keep it 1-1.
With five minutes left to full time, a good pass from the back combination of Jaabir and Zayn to Abbas Rajvani who played it to Mikhail Rashid – his finish was cool with a lob over the goal. 2-1.
Final whistle blew with handshakes all around.
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)