Dear SJFA Family & SJ Members
Salaamun Alaikum and Eid Mubarak,
On Friday, 22 May 2020, I officially signed off my term as the Stanmore Jafferys Football Academy (SJFA) Chair and formally passed on the custodianship of our fantastic football club to Nazir Rajvani.
My involvement with the club has reached its 5th year and during the five years, I started out as a coach, then moved onto the Club Secretary role and finally took on the helm of the club in the Summer of 2017. It has indeed been an honour and a privilege to take on these roles and to be able to serve the community. Not only as it been fulfilling but also rewarding and allowed me to meet some fantastic community members and leaders during the journey. I thank God for the opportunity to serve and reward it has brought me
When the current team took on the stewardship of SJFA we were clear from the outset that we wanted to continue to have a community club but with a clear long term vision. Please do let me remind you all some of the objectives we communicated to the community back in August 2017:
• Development of the Coaches – we planned to offer all our coaches the opportunity to take their FA Level 1 Badge and continuous technical development with external FA & UEFA qualified coaches. I am so pleased we more than delivered on this front. We now have 40 coaches providing on point training sessions with over 30 with a FA Level 1 Coaching qualification and a further 9 who completed their FA Level 2 Coaching qualification. We also have a FA Level 1 Goalkeeper Coach in our talent pool. This is in addition to the mandated and continuous professional development courses like First Aid and Safeguarding provided throughout the season. This development of coaches has made the club self-sufficient and sustainable in the long term.
• Development of our Youth – the investment in our coaches can only improve the training sessions and develop the youth. We want to focus on all players including goalkeepers and aim to bring in external coaches to work on some of the great goalkeepers across the age groups. Within the coaches network, alhamdulillah, we have a number of youth that have come through the SJFA ranks. Not only do these young men play an integral part of the training sessions but actually taking the lead during the training sessions. Grounded, driven and now hopefully empowered, inshallah some will go on to be future leaders of the community.
• Friendlies/League Participation – the boys really enjoy and value the friendlies. Brother Safraz, Head of Operations, will continue to reach out to our network to arrange friendlies across all the tiers. Over the next two years we will look to do this on a national basis. Friendlies is where we learned our trade but we wanted the ultimate goal of joining a league. In our first season of the Chiltern Church League we entered 3 teams and this season we entered 7 teams. The coaches and parents will all agree with me that the brotherhood and friendships among the boys will be there for many years to come. It has been amazing to see how the boys have developed with the experience.
• Tournaments – we will continue to search for tournaments that suits our needs. InshAllah we will aim to enter more team(s) in an international tournament. The FA award winning Salaam Cup epitomizes this. There are not many grassroots football clubs that can bring in over 2000 spectators though the turnstiles and have the ionic FA Cup for that once in a lifetime selfie!
• FA/Other Sporting Bodies Exposure – There is no doubt we need to tap into the opportunities offered by external sporting bodies. Brother Shafique and I have agreed that this is where we need to focus and I am grateful to him that he has agreed to work on this important objective. Acknowledged by the FA and Middlesex FA as a best in class grassroots football community club that has opened up opportunities to the community including access to England fixtures.
• Social Media – Over the last 2 years, the positive feedback we have received on the ever evolving SJFA website content and newsletter has been great. This area is still in development and we need to look at other aspects of social media to grow the SJFA brand. The weekly updated website and newsletter continues to be a platform where we engage with our SJFA community and further afield.
An objective not on the agenda but something that we should be proud of is the revival of the adults football. The set up now provides access to training and competitive football to all members, and I am so happy to see our participation both in the Watford Senior League and the Middlesex FA Flexi League.
Goals and success can only be achieved collectively and with the support of key stakeholders, leaders and every member of our community and to them all I would like to express a huge “Thank You!” from the bottom of my heart for everything that they have done to make our journey to date possible:
Hujjat EC – Their encouragement and blessing at every junction in our journey
SJ Board – The support, trust and autonomy awarded to the team has been heartwarming
Parents / Guardians – Your continuous engagement and involvement provides the reassurance and development every club needs to grow
Corporate Partners– your partnership and financial contribution as helped us to achieve the above objectives (and much more)
Players – It has been a pleasure to watch the you all during training and fixtures. Highs and lows but always with a smile at the end.
Managers and Coaches – The backbone of the club. We owe so much to this group of men who invest their time on and off the pitch. I, for one, am indebted with their support, guidance and patience that they have provided me over the years.
Management Team – namely Abbas Khatau, Hussein Pirbhai, Safraz Valjy, Afzal Merali, Nazir Rajvani, Hassan Rashid & Shafique Govani
The delivery and my accountability would not have been possible without this core team. Their unwavering support, engagement, direction and guidance has been always forthcoming literally day and night! I thank them for being there through the highs and lows and through thick and thin.
Now looking into the future. I know Nazir is the right person to take on the baton and Alhamdulillah he has the experience to do so in his current role as an existing coach and playing a pivotal role in the current management team. I am confident that the club will flourish and strengthen even further. I am equally confident that the community will provide all the necessary support and trust to Nazir and his team.
Nazir, over to you. You know I am only a call or whatsapp message away – night or day! All the best
On a final note, I would like to extend my personal apologies, as well as on behalf of the team, for anything I (we) have said or done which has caused any inconvenience or hurt and I pray for your forgiveness in those matters. Please do remember us in your prayers and God Bless you all.
With Salaams & Duas
Mohammed Valjy (Outgoing SJFA Chair)