On Saturday 7 January 2017, SJFA U14s got their season underway with their first fixture v/s a very strong AFC Wembley side. The game was played on grass and split into 4 quarters x 20 minute which worked very well and allowed the team to re-group and go out and battle again.
The 14 man squad included:
Muhammad-Zayn Kalyan (GK),Abbas Datoo, Irfaan Kanji, Jawad Khatau, Abbasali Gulamhussein, Mikaeel Jaffer, Sajjadali Janmohamed, Ammarali Jehta, Mahdi Ladha, Mohammed Abbas Lilani, Owais Mawjee, Muntazir Ramji, Haider Virjee, Muhammad Jawad Virjee (captain).
Although we got off to a slow start going a goal down in the first 5 minutes, we began to get into our stride and although AFC Wembley had a much stronger physical presence, slightly quicker in pace than our boys we matched them toe to toe when it came to fighting spirit, tenacity and resilience.
All 14 boys should be extremely proud in the way they hustled, scrapped and battled for all 80 minutes and not giving up till the final whistle despite the constant onslaught with the final score line as follows:
1st x 20 mins: 0-1
2nd x 20 mins: 1-2
3rd x 20 mins: 1-1
4th x 20 mins: 0-3
SJFA: 2 v/s AFC Wembley: 7
Every single player put in a shift scrapping for each other and deserves a mention, starting with our heroic backline defence lead by Muhammad Zayn Kalyan (Goal Keeper), Mikael Jaffer (had an excellent game) supported by Abbas Datoo, Sajjad Janmohamed, Mohamed Abbas Lilani, and the feisty Jawad Khatau.
Our midfield was lead by the skipper Muhammad Jawad Virjee; link man in the centre with Haider Virjee besides him and Irfan Kanji and Muntazir Ramji taking shifts on the left wing, with Abbas Ali Gulamhusein spearing down the right wing which lead to one of our goals via a penalty. The attack was lead by Ammar Jetha, Owais Mawjee (always at the heel of the defenders) and Mahdi Ladha leading the line.
Two special mentions must go to Muhammad Zayn (Courtois) Kalyan our goal keeper who was phenomenal in keeping AFC at bay with some outstanding and breath taking saves, with SJFA only 2-4 down after 60 minutes; with one quarter to play and keeping us right in the hunt with the last 20 minutes.
Second special mention must also go to our talisman striker Mahdi (Diego Costa) Ladha who not only scored two goals and narrowly missed 3 excellent opportunities (1 falling just wide, and 2 needing fine saves from the opposing keeper) but really took the game to AFC Wembley weaving his zig-zag magic round the AFC defenders and coming back to help in defence.
As the coach on the day, I was immensely proud with the attitude and spirit the boys played with, taking knocks, hits, and scars with their heads and chins up right till the end!
Below was the message from the AFC Wembley coach which aptly summarises my thoughts:
“Thank you very much for coming down today. The game was played with great spirit and your players are a credit to you and your coaching team. We look forward to doing it again soon. Kind Regards Darren AFCW – Development for Success”
Finally, a huge thank you to the parents for the continued support, ensuring boys were there on time, and those who came out to support! It would definitely be a lot nicer to see more parents coming out to watch and roaring the boys on.
Coach – SJFA U14s