Wednesday, August 29, 2012


A game report I wrote for the finals of an annual Ramadan indoor football tournament organized by my community here in Dubai.
Dubai, Hussein Walji was once again the stand-out performer for Afro Trading as he put in a sublime effort over Altaf Karim’s Somji & Co in the finals of the Jaffery Ramadan Football Tournament.

The victorious Afro Trading squad
In a match dubbed by many as ‘Posta vs. Walji,’ the latter came out on top, leading his team from the front and beautifully setting up the only goal of the match.

“The performance overall of everybody from the team has been superb,” Walji said after the game.

“I cannot say enough how hard these boys have worked to come up – everybody from the youngest to the oldest member of our team has given their heart out and because of that we’ve managed to win.”

The finals were played over two halves of nine minutes in front of a full house at the Iranian Club gym.

In the opening half, both sides played aggressively as each had chances to get on the board.

Mohamed Redha Meghji of Somji & Co whistled a right-footer inches over the bar while Ali Soda of Afro Trading forced a good save from the burly figure of Munna Meghji with a chance up close.

Despite the chances at both ends, the first half ended goalless and on a sour note, Somji & Co’s Maisam Datoo finding his way into the referee’s book with a yellow card for dissent.

With everything to play for in the final nine minutes, it was Afro Trading who stepped up their game. Irfan Damji found some room and let go from 15 feet out, but Munna Meghji turned his shot aside.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. With half of the final frame already elapsed and neither team on the board, the prospect of penalties was looming large.

It was then that Walji squirmed free from his mark in midfield and broke out with Mohamed Sadiq Jetha on his right and only one defender and the goalkeeper for company.

Walji waltzed ahead and waited before feeding an inch-perfect through pass through to Jetha who slid the ball into an open net with one touch of his right foot.

It was a quality goal that sent the capacity crowd into a frenzy.

With chances few and far between in the final five minutes, Jetha’s lone marker was enough to see Afro Trading hang on and take the win.

Much was expected out of Altaf Posta, Somji & Co’s star striker.

But a solid display at the back by Afro Trading’s Irfan Damji and Ali Soda kept Posta quiet throughout the match, restricting him to attempts from far out.

However Walji said it wasn’t all about keeping one player from the opposition at bay, saying that football was all about team work.

“It’s not about cancelling one player,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s a team game, and one player makes a difference when it matters most.”

The Afro Trading star said he thought Posta didn’t get the support he needed from his teammates, and hence was not as effective.

“I think he had a quite game in terms of making clear cut chances because he didn’t receive the ball as much as he would have liked to, but that’s football,” Walji said.

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