A rather ordinary friendly fixture planned between two local Middlesex Clubs turned out to be something extraordinary on a national level, to be recorded in the history books for ever.
Halfway through the phone call with Joe, IGK’s Head Coach, back in November as he outlined the itinerary for the match day I realised that this was going to be something more than a normal set of games but I could not imagine the full extent at that moment in time.
The Indian Gymkhana Club celebrated its centenary year in 2016 and is the largest and longest-standing multiracial Sports Club in the United Kingdom. Those who were present on the 3rd of December at their home ground will agree with me that their sports facilities permeate inspiration and admiration, a true role model for our communities round the country. As we drove into this majestic venue on a sunny December morning, we were received with a welcome and hospitality filled with warmth and charm. At the time of departure following the final whistle and a personalised guided tour, as I was driving out of the car park I was convinced this was the beginning of a long lasting relationship.
Last weekend, the two communities connected once again after weeks of meticulous planning ensuring a timely delivery with utmost precision. At this junction, I would like to express my personal gratitude and appreciation on behalf SJFA to those involved in co-ordinating and delivering this successful event and equally to the match sponsors/donors (in memory of Marhumeens of Pirbhai Visram family & Marhumeens of Gulamhusein Family and Khaku family and Gulamhusein Daya family – please recite Surae Fateha). Whilst we could not offer IGK our “own” home ground, I pray and hope that we offered the same degree of welcome, hospitality and warmth – in particular the latter as the notorious wind and rain drops swept over The Hive just before the medal ceremony started.
Six age groups kicked off simultaneously following a silent minute in memory of the match sponsor families and over the following sixty minutes the coaches and parents witnessed well balanced and equally well mannered games. As I was walking back and forth across the 5 pitches filled with the Brazilian colour coded IGK and England red strip SJFA teams, I was truly honoured to once again witness the sublime engagement and involvement from our SJFA management and coaches, smartly dressed in their SJFA black tracksuits. Whilst the players, centre of attraction, were all passionately focused on their games, with the parents cheering and motivating from the sidelines, the stewards and volunteers ensured that all arrangements were smooth and seamless. Undoubtedly the true spirit of the event would only be absorbed with a physical presence but those who could not attend will get a flavour by zooming in to the camera man’s production encapsulating the whole event.
The common denominator in this relationship is the word Connection, reflected in the BEDSA category “Connecting Communities” and this nomination has inspired SJFA and IGK to establish a long term bilateral bond with a view to evolve, extend and expand to other communities.
Head of SJFA