The SJFA Tier 3 has 55 players registered, a manager, and two coaches.
From the start of this season, the Tier 3 manager and coaches all felt that more external matches were required in order to improve the players, inject a competitive spirit into them, and to give them practice of playing in challenging games.
Competitive friendly fixture
On Saturday 17 September 2016, the first such friendly game was arranged against Chalfont St Peter. Invites were sent to 19 SJFA Tier 3 boys, and 8 responded positively. All 8 were chosen as part of the squad, managed by the tier manager, Abbas Ismail:
Ali Mehdi Abbas Ismail
Hassan Afzal Merali
Husayn Ali Abbas Ismail
Muhammad Aqeel Mavani
After a warm up, the first game started at 945am. The SJFA boys played in a 2-3-1 formation in a 7-a-side format, on a grass pitch.
Things did not start well. In the first 5 minutes, Chalfont St Peter sent through a good pass that went over the SJFA defence, and their striker finished very well. We were down 1-0.
After that early set back, SJFA began to show their quality. The team began to keep the ball better, passed it around with confidence, and were never again in any real danger. SJFA dominated the game from then on.
We equalised with a stunning goal from the halfway line by team captain Alireza Hamir. We then took the lead with a goal line scrambled goal – Hassan Merali and Ali Mehdi Ismail both sharing the final touch. Ali Mehdi then scored SJFA’s third goal from a tight angle on the right. Husayn Ismail then added a fourth.
Result: Chalfont St Peter 1 – 4 SJFA
Following a short break, Chalfont fielded their stronger ‘A’ side. SJFA made some changes: Ali Mehdi Ismail went into goal, and Abbas Alloo came on pitch.
Again, SJFA did not start well. We conceded a goal and then gave away a penalty that Chalfont converted. We were 2-0 down.
SJFA then started to toughen up and played some outstanding football. We battled, defended, and got a grip on the game. After good work in midfield, Husayn Ismail took a run at the defence and fired high into the roof of the net to make it 2-1.
A few minutes later, Husayn once again beat the keeper with a powerful and rising shot to make it 2-2.
In the last minute, Chalfont managed to cross a ball to the far post, and despite SJFA’s brave efforts to clear the ball, Chalfont somehow scrambled it over the line. The referee blew the final whistle shortly afterwards.
Result: Chalfont St Peter 3 – 2 SJFA
Outcomes of this experience
The coaches and players found this a very valuable experience. Here is what we learned:
- We have a very talented tier
- We have parents that have great commitment
- We can raise teams for fixtures
- We impressed the other teams’ coaches and they want to play us again
- We can compete with (and inshallah beat) any opposition
- We need to work on starting games better
- We need to work on positioning
How can other players be picked for such games?
Every week at The Hive, the coaches will be looking out for two key qualities: ability and attitude. Such players will be invited to play in the games. At times we may only be able to field one team, but at other times we will be able to field more; this is mainly dependent upon the opposition and their own numbers and set up. We will always try to field as many teams as we can.
It is very important that the players take The Hive practices seriously, and demonstrate their skills every week.
The motto of our Tier this year is: we back our skills, no matter who the opposition. This means that we want the boys to be excellent in their technical abilities and understanding of the game, and they have the confidence to back themselves to deliver those skills no matter what the format, who the opposition, or what surface they play on.
Manager – Tier 3, SJFA