Ali Hadi Govani (c)
Ali Abbas Suleiman (GK)
Husayn Yahya Merali
Mohammed Mohsin Kanani
We arrived at our oppositions grounds to find the groundsman had set up the wrong pitch and we would have to play on a full sized adults pitch with full size goals. This would be testing for both sides. The referee and opposition coach suggested we play 3 x 20 minute periods.
This was to be our first 11-a-side friendly in a while and SJFA started with a 3-2-3-2 formation. We started well with our midfield playing in the oppositions half, unfortunately, we were up against 3 defenders who were double the size of Ali Khatau who was upfront and nothing could get past them.
After 10 mins we were 1-0 down when a through ball broke our defensive line and the striker finished well. We were 3-0 down within a few minutes after the first goal. Unfortunately, 2 individual errors proved costly!
The second period began well and after stringing a few passes together Ali Hadi Govani had our first shot on target. Bushey Rangers caught us on the break and scored a 4th. By the end of the 2nd period we were 9-0 down! Simple mistakes such as passing the ball across the face of the area and trying to dribble the ball out of defence proved costly and demoralising.
Not only were we playing against a bigger, stronger and well drilled team but we were making mistakes that contributed to the scoreline. The full sized goals were a joy for the opposition strikers and a nightmare for our keeper Aliabbas Suleiman who did his utmost to keep the ball out of his net and pulled off some great saves as per usual. A special mention to Ali Sheikh who also made a number of solid tackles and Sami Merali who was supposed to be playing upfront but dropped deep to get involved and try to make something happen.
The team talk at the end of the second period saw some un-characteristic choice words from the manager to his team. The performance lacked fight, passion, concentration and basic football intelligence. It was full of basic mistakes. Instructions were not being followed and it was just not good enough and not what I knew they were capable off.
The third period saw a marked improvement. I will have to deliver these team talks more often! A great move led to Ali Khatau having a run in on goal, as he was approaching the keeper he lost his footing and was denied a shooting opportunity. Jameel Walji had a fantastic effort saved soon after. We lost this period 2-0, but, it was better and the boys showed more desire.
Fuad (Pep) Musa