By Mudassir Raja
The football fever is all over Qatar. The sport is being played at different levels in the country that is all set to host the next FIFA World Cup.
In its effort to promote and support football among young boys, Indian Sports Centre (ISC), in association with Qatar Football Association (QFA), recently organised Inter-School Football Tournament for Under-12 and Under-14 categories at Doha Sports Stadium. The tournament, first of its kind, lasted for 15 days.
As many as 26 teams from 15 Indian schools in Qatar took part in both the categories of the tournament. In the U-12 category, 14 teams participated while 12 teams took part in U-14 category.
The students of Shantiniketan Indian School (SIS) won the tournament in both the categories, including U-12 and U-14 from Rajagiri Public School (RPS) and Birla Public School (BPS), respectively.
In the U-12 category, teams A and B of MES Indian School secured the second runners-up title. In the U-14 category, Ideal Indian School and Olive International School were the second runners-up. Sameek Harshal, a student of SIS bagged the Best Player Award in the U-14 category and Antony Suni Jose of RPS was presented with Best Player Award for the U-12 category. The top scorer in the U-12 category was Rayan, a student of MES Indian School.
The other participant schools of the tournament, included Doha Modern Indian school, DPS Modern Indian School, Loyola International School, Noble International School and Greenwood International School. The teams were divided into four pools. The tournament was played on knockout basis.
Talking to Community, Nilangshu Dey, President of ISC, said, “The tournament had a splendid opening ceremony which was attended by the office bears of ISC and officials of QFA. I really appreciate QFA for being associated with the tournament and supporting us. There are many different football tournaments and events organised for school going children in Qatar. However, all the tournaments are organised for the 14-year-olds and above players. We decided to arrange a tournament for the young boys. We floated the idea to QFA and the association agreed to collaborate with us. The association provided us with all the professional facilities for the young players who had a great experience and exposure.”
When asked if they plan to include other schools in the tournament next year, the ISC president said, “Surely, we plan to organise a bigger tournament next year. We would like to invite all schools in Qatar for the two categories. This was our first tournament for the young boys. Such tournaments create a lot of interest among the young players for the sport.”
The final match was followed by the prize distribution ceremony. The ceremony was attended by notable personalities, including Drago Lovric, Ambassador of Croatia; Khalid al-Kuwari, Executive Director of QFA; and Ramesh Bulchandani, General Manager of Homes r Us group, along with other Indian community leaders.
Speaking on the occasion, Khalid al-Kuwari said, “I applaud ISC for taking such an initiative to organise the football tournament for the children. QFA encourages football among the junior boys to inculcate football culture from the beginning. This can be a yearly tournament where more schools can participate in future.”
Congratulating the winners, Drago Lovric said, “I encourage the young boys to play football as Qatar provides excellent facilities for promoting the sport for all people.”
He highlighted for how Croatia has gained prominence in the football world, he said, “The young boys need to take interest and play the sport form the very beginning. The young players should pay attention to mastering different skills and try to inculcate new skills for their game. The schoolchildren need to take advantage of the facilities and atmosphere congenial for football in Qatar.”
Ramesh Bulchandani, M S Bukhari, Chairman Corporate Relations at ISC, thanked QFA and congratulated the winners. They also appreciated the participants. The prize distribution ceremony was compered by Habib un Nabi, General Secretary of ISC.
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