On 17th July 2017 the team sat together to reflect and digest on the biggest event that SJFA has ever put together, Salaam Cup 2017. We had got together families, friends a few external teams and created a festival atmosphere. How were we going to repeat this in 2018? Were we going to do this in 2018? Do we have the strength, patience and time to do this?
Fast forward to almost a year later, and at this time 6 Harry Kane goals and quarter final to look forward to (and hopefully more), we are now sitting back reflecting on an even bigger and dare I say better event than 2017.
This year SJFA opened its doors to further external teams from various communities and varying football abilities with one thing in common, the love of the game. Over 90 teams attended the event from Birmingham, Totttenham (COYS) to our favourite friends across the River in South London. We introduced a new age category which were our Cubs – aged 6 and under – who if you were lucky enough to watch were an absolute joy to behold. Young players smiling, tackling, and scoring some belters giving their parents a huge sense of pride and more importantly the players were enjoying themselves playing football.
Besides the football there was entertainment for kids aged between 4 and 7 in the auditorium – though the number of adults walking around with Candy Floss did make me wonder who was making the most of this – though I have to admit I may have had my fair share!
On the catering side we had old favourites alongside some new up and coming providers who served up Brisket to waffles on a stick to Hot dogs. There was something for everyone, Young and old alike seemed to be feasting at every opportunity.
For any football fan the biggest nightmare during a World Cup is having to be away from the action at an event and missing out on watching arguably the 2nd best player in the world after Harry Kane. To ensure that no one missed out SJFA enlisted the help of BLITZ to erect a 4 by 3 metre screen in a Fan Zone. The screen was absolutely magnificent and we cannot thanks Blitz enough for the hard work behind the scenes before, during and after the event. The icing on the cake was a magnificent game with Messi probably playing his last game on the greatest stage – the Salaam Cup!
Every event has unsung heroes and this event was no different. Without our sponsors and donors and community we would not be able to provide the excellent services and facilities we had on offer. But it was the strong army of over a hundred Salaamteers dressed in blue who were on hand to serve visitors and put a smile on their faces that were the heroes. Every community, every society needs people who put other people’s interests first before theirs. These Salaamteers really deserve all the praise that comes their way for giving up their time and enduring the heat to serve the community.
Finally to the strong team of 12 core members who planned this event meticulously down to the minute detail working tireless and endless hours to ensure that Salaam Cup 2018 was a huge success – thank you very much. You are the stars and the community owes you a huge debt of gratitude.
Look forward to writing a similar note for Salaam Cup 2019!