Our first Under 12s friendly of the season was against Youngs FC.
It was a good opportunity to mix some of our Under 11 boys with our Under 12s.
The following squad was managed by Fuad (Pep):
Hassan Merali Dewji (Chuzi) – Captain
Muhammad Mahdi Panju (GK)
Ali Reza Hamir
Muhammad Abbas Jaffer Kassamali
We chose a squad of 11 players based on the fact we were asked to play a 9-a-side game, just before kick off, after choosing the formation and giving each player a ‘Pep’ talk with individual instructions, we were told it had been changed to a 7-a-side game as we could not use the full pitch because of a training session for some other age groups! The game plan went out of the window and I had a few minutes to re-organise the team and assure all the boys they would take part in the game.
I started with all of our Under 12 players that were present except for our keeper, Muhammad Mahdi Panju, and Ali Reza Hamir who partnered Shaahid Alimohamed in defence. From the off we were on top of them they could not cope with our pressure. Their keeper made a few good saves and Muhammad Abbas Jaffer Kassamali hit the post. Our pressure paid off and soon after Hassan Chuzi broke the deadlock, 0-1. Soon followed by a second by Sami Merali, 0-2. Sami then scored a second to make it 0-3 or so we thought, the referee then told us it wasn’t a goal and had gone in through the side netting!! Sami, the players and myself were sure it was a goal, but, we had to abide by the referees decision.
Time to make some changes and give some of the younger boys a run out, Ali Dewji replaced Mohamedmahdi Janmohamed, Husayn Ismail replaced Muhammad Abbas Jaffer Kassamali and Ali Khatau for Sami Merali.
The game now was starting to turn, complacency set in and Youngs countered us. A through ball left Shaahid little choice but to try a make a last ditch tackle which, unfortunately was late, penalty to Youngs. The first real action Muhammad Mahdi Panju was to face in goal and he saved well with his feet. Soon after they attacked again and this time no mistake they scored 1-2. Youngs were gaining confidence from that goal and continued to press. A simple error in defence led to their second, giving their striker a clean run in on goal 2-2. We could have made it 2-3 when Husayn Ismail was played through by Hassan Chuzi only to miss by inches! Half time.
I introduced Jaabir Walji in defence to start the second half and once again he stood out amongst his older team mates and showed a tenacious, no nonsense attitude, going into tackles against boys much bigger than him and showed no fear.
The second half was a busier one for our keeper and defence. Youngs were now the team applying the pressure. Their defence was now solid and repelling everything that came there way. Ali Khatau was giving his all, Sami was getting out muscled, which very rarely happens. Because of the constant changes revolving the players around we were losing shape, the team were losing the ball and Youngs were taking advantage of this, they scored and it was 2-3. Their come back was complete, we pushed for the equaliser, but, unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. The final score was 3-2 to Youngs.
The Under 11 boys that took part played well even though it was a step up. They showed glimpses of potential that I am sure will be fulfilled with more training sessions and games. Our Under 12 boys will now need to step up and get used to being the senior members of the squad and lead by example both on and off the field. We have work to do, but the future is potentially bright!