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Monday, 26 February 2018  
9. Jamadi-ul-Akhir 1439

The sun was out and the pitch report stated- Perfect Football Weather!

There were four star-studded teams on display with invaluable bragging rights up for grabs in the weekly MSC Football Session.

Fresh from a great experience at the Salaam Cup the kids were buoyed by the fact that their training had moved outside and were taking full advantage of the perfect 3G pitch at Heartlands Academy. Coach Mario and Shah were in superb form as usual.

The four teams for the adult’s session were as follows:

Aston All-Stars

B’ham Bullets

Clifton Chargers

Digbeth Destroyers

Faraaz Fazel

Shahidali Allidina

Amir Hemraj

Abbas Meghjee

Mo Harji

Bha

Rash

Mo Nassim

H. Tharoo

Jaffer

Arif Railey

Yaseen

Masood

Raza Hirji

Somji

Ali Raza Hassan

Taha V

Mohsin Najafi

Z. Jetha

Hasan Agah

M. Jetha

Sumar

Nemo

Nawaf

Ali Taqi

Hossein (H)

Abdul Nassim

Karar

 

Ali Hassam

 

 

 

With the unfortunate event of a delayed kick off things got underway for the first set of matches but it was definitely worth the wait.

The Bullets took on the Chargers in a high scoring and thrilling encounter. Gareth Sumar Bale (GSB) took the game by the scruff of the neck and was charging up and down the wing. Assisted by some great midfield play from Raza Hir-G and silky midfield play they found themselves well-deservedly 2-0 up. The Chargers rallied and great interplay between the young Nassimzadeh and Rash (known by only one name a la Pele) helped them pull a goal back. Another slick move and it was 2-2. Hussein Somji went on a signature run, jinking past player after player like an older and wiser Jack Wilshire and finishing what he thought was the winner. But the Bullets were determined and H, more commonly known as Zizou, pounced on some poor defensive play to make it 3-3!

The All-Stars took on the Destroyers in a grudge match. Abbas Schemeichel was looking to make a triumphant return to the pitch. In his pre-match press conference he quipped, “Football is forever in my heart, the spirit of Leicester has inspired me back on to the pitch”. Nawaf Benzema is making a name for himself as more of an Inzaghi, drifting in and out of offside positions. His persistence paid off and after being denied early on with some great defensive play he slotted home for 1-0. Mo Harji issued a rallying cry that would have made Patrick Viera proud and threatened the hair dryer for any players not giving 100%. The shift in gears was marked and signalled a turning point in the game. The All-Stars had been hanging on with some fine saves from Faraaz but it was now Abbas Schmeichel under pressure, he was up to the task and produced a string of world class stops. It was as if Gandalf had turned up and said, “You Shall Not Pass!” Eventually the pressure told and Jetha was cool under pressure to riffle home the equalizer. Ali Taqi made an intelligent late run and prodded home from 3 yards to cap of a great team move. 2-1 the final score to the All-Stars.

A break for Salaat under the open skies allowed the players to reflect and recuperate but it was straight back into the break neck action after that.

The All-Stars, fresh from their victory looked in confident mood vs the Chargers. The game was marked out by key battles across the pitch and Jetha Senior took no prisoners with defending reminiscent of the great Cannavaro. Arif Railey had an early chance that was saved and The Maestro Nouri played it out from the back with a calmness that belied his years. Mo Harji drove from the back with the skill of an attacking midfielder and broke the deadlock with a great finish past Amiro Van Der Saar who was not pleased with the marking. A late but great finish from Tharoo confirmed the result with a 2-0 win for the All-Stars.

The Bullets took on the Destroyers and pre-match Bha ‘Carra’ Hirji was quoted to say, “This is the big one! This is the game we all want to win”.  The calmness of the Hirji brothers at the back was a key part of the early possession the Bullets had. It was one way traffic for the Bullets with Ali Raza Hassan making so many vital tackles across the pitch you could swear he was taking tips from Kante. Hosein Zizou continued to dictate the game and played in Sumar for a great finish to make it 1-0. A pair of assists for Zizou , 2 goals from GSB and one from Mohsin Vardy made it 3-0. Refusing to give up, Yaseen Alves ran the ball down the line, put in a perfect cross which was gleefully finished for 3-1. The dagger to settle any nerves was from Mohsin who finished neatly making it 4-1. A consolation goal for Nawaf meant little as it ended 4-2.

The third round of games and the Chargers took on the Destroyers. With pride to play for Arif Railey and Nemo roused the troops and they went for the jugular. They packed the midfield and pressed the ball high. They ended deserved 5-1 winners.

A draw is all they need. That’s what the pundits were saying about the All-Stars title hopes. Many predicted a tight game when the All-Stars took on the Bullets. But football is not about predictions. The bullets were there to win; they knew 3 points would steal the title away from the All-Stars. Mitro Jaffer was playing a free role upfront and causing havoc among the All-Star defenders. He laid on a cross, Hosein Zizou headed it into the path of the onrushing Sumar who fired it home past Fazel. 1-0; and it got worse. A ten minute hatrick from Sumar with assists from Mitro, Zizou and Mohsin had made it 3-0 in the blink of an eye. There was no way back and the Bullets played with a swagger of Champions, much like Leicester casted aside Swansea. A quality finish from outside the box by Hassam made it 4-0 and the Bullets were deserved Champions.

 

That concludes this edition of the Football Observer. Please join us at the next fantastic football session on Friday the 27th of May. 

The clouds cleared and the sun shone through onto what was a glistening Heartlands pitch. The footballing angels were smiling down today. It seems as though they too were pleased that football was back. It had been a month since this hallowed ground had experienced the greatness of MSC Football.

 There was a definite buzz around the place. The youth had a spring in their step and even Coach Mario, the young Claudio Ranieri, had a glint in his eye as he dreamed of silverware in the upcoming Salaam Cup. Coordinator Shenu Jaffer quipped, “When the seagull follows the trawler it is because they think Sardines will be thrown” 

Our Young Lions have a shot at history this Bank Holiday Monday- Masoomin Monday as the pundits have dubbed it. 35 of the sharpest, quickest and strongest young athletes will descend into London for what promises to be a thrilling and exciting day. 

The eldest of the young footballers were put through their toughest test to date. They were included in a 7-a-side round robin tournament with the rest of the adults who had be split into a further three teams.

 

The teams for the Friday session were as follows:

 

Young Guns

Aston All-Stars

B’ham Bullets

Clifton Chargers

Adam Mohamed

Mo Nassimzadeh

Mo Harji

Jaffer

Arif Mohamed

Faraaz Fazel (GK)

Masoud Nouri

Abdul Nassimzadeh

Abbas Mirza

Ali Taqi

Amir Hemraj (GK)

M.Abbas Rashid

Husnain Malik

Ali Hassam

Mohamed Sumar

Shahidali Alidina (GK)

Muhammed Kurji

Tharoo

Jetha

Sajjadali KG

Ali Rashid

Ali Dossa

Yaseen

Raza Hirji

Kumayl Ali

Mesum Ali

Hasan Agah

Humran

Muhammad Dhalla

Hussein Somji *

Pardhan

 

 

*Loyalties wavered like a young Sol Campbell. Represented both the All-Stars and Bullets.

 

With two games being played simultaneously the action was off and running. 

The Bullets and Chargers were part of a game that was testament to defensive solidity. Mo Harji marshalled his defence like a young Rio Ferdinand while Jaffer and Rash played with the grit and determination of the Huth/Morgan partnership. The game ended in a 2-2 Draw.

 The Young Guns took on the All-Stars and pre-match Mo ‘Hansen’ Nassimzadeh was quoted as saying , “you can’t win anything with kids”. The kids got off to a flying start and raced into a 3-0 lead, their performance showed shades of the Liverpool first half demolition of Arsenal in 2014. But unlike that Arsenal side, this All-Star team had the bottle to claw the game back to 4-4. With the game finely balanced and the clock ticking down a well worked team goal settled the tie 5-4 to the Young Guns.

The exuberance of youth faded after this as the Young Guns took on the supremely experienced Chargers. With Raza ‘Stevie G” Hir-G dictating the play from deep and Abdul Nassimzadeh running the channels with the pace of a Middle Eastern Arjen Robben they had the majority of the chances. Despite the youth showing their defensive skills and energy, the Chargers were well worth their 1-0 victory.

The All-Stars suffered a demolition at the hands of the Bullets. Despite Mo Nassimzadeh’s effort in the middle of the park that would even have made Roy Keane crack a smile. It was a 4-0 victory to the Bullets who put in a classy performance. Masoud Nouri dictated play like a young Andres Iniesta and Yaseen, Sumar and Jetha combining as potently as MSN.

In the final set of games the All-Stars took on the Chargers. Some good play saw the All-Stars create some good early opportunities. Ali Hassam took aim but Shahidali Allidina produced some world class saves; Chris Kamara could hardly believe it, “Unbelievable Jeff!”. Against the run of play the Chargers took the lead after some incisive counter attacking play. In an effort to solidify their lead they deployed Mohamed ‘Mitro’ Jaffer up front and that move instantly paid dividends as he slotted home with all the composure of a seasoned veteran.

 The Young Guns took on the Bullets, this game had an exhibition feel about it as the Bullets picked up where they had left off with the All-Stars. A resounding 4-0 win with all the flicks and tricks of the Brazilian team circa 2002.

 With that resounding victory the winners of the day on Goal difference were the Bullets, with the consistent chargers level on points in the tightest race since that Aguero moment. The youth came in a respectable third with the All-Stars failing to live up to their billing despite valiant efforts otherwise.

That concludes this edition of the Football Observer. Please tune in for a Special Edition where we will cover the Salaam Cup breakdown for the youth and join us for another fantastic session of Football at Heartlands this Friday.