By Mudassir Raja
The staunch business competitors showed real sportsmanship during the recently concluded Inter-Hotel Football Tournament (IHFT) 2019.
The IHFT, organised every year, saw participation by all the major hotels in Qatar. The sixth edition of the tournament was won by Fraser Suites Doha, beating Diplomatic Club in the final with the score of 5-2.
Fraser Suites, also being the winners of IHFT 2018, was the organiser for the IHFT 2019. Ten hotels took part in the tournament including Fraser Suites Doha, Four Seasons Hotel Doha, The Ritz-Carlton Doha, Mondrian Doha, The Diplomatic Club, Marriott Marquis, Hilton Hotel, Holiday Villa, Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas and Wyndham Grand Regency Doha.
The tournament lasted for 17 days and the theme for 2019 edition was ‘Sportsmanship.’ The final took place at Al Wakrah Sports Club ground.
More than a sports event, the tournament went a long way to strengthen network and relationship of the hospitality community. The team members enjoyed their time together with the members of other hotels.
The chief guest at the prize distribution ceremony was Madalina Dogaru, Operations Manager Fraser Suites Doha. Speaking at the occasion, she said: “We have witnessed an amazing game tonight, not to mention about the entire tournament. Congratulations to the winners, congratulations also to Diplomatic Club. Whether you have won a trophy or not, you are all winners.
“It was an honour for us to host the sixth edition of IHFT and we are very grateful to all of you for participation.”
She added: “My special thanks goes to the hotels which encourage their staff to engage in all kinds of sports – in the long run, your active lifestyle would pay you rich dividends in terms of fitness, well-being and happiness.
“The theme of the tournament was ‘Sportsmanship’ and the spirit was excellently displayed by the players during the event. More than being a sport, this type of tournaments will help in establishing long term relationships and networking within the hotel fraternity. Hope both the teams and spectators enjoyed their time here and had made some fond memories together.”
Mohammed Shaji, HR Manager of Fraser Suites Doha and the event manager, said: “The number of spectators was higher than it was last year. In the last tournament, the matches used to start at 6pm, making it tough for the staff to reach in the ground soon after the work. This year, the matches started at 8pm. The whole tournament was played under flood lights and we got very good co-operation and collaboration from Al Wakrah Sports Club.”
He added: “Each side comprised of seven players. We had the ground size reduced in length. At the league level, each match was 40 minute long with one half lasting for 20 minutes. The duration of each semi-final was 50 minutes with one half lasing for 25 minutes. The time for the final match was 60 minutes with each half lasting for 30 minutes. The tournament was played in a very professional way. We have hired the services of a professional referee. Cosmin Tripsa, a Romanian national, is a professional football coach with a school.”
Jonathan Edirin, Captain of the winning team and an employee of Fraser Suites Doha, is a Nigerian national and a profession football player. He said: “I moved to Doha in 2004. Before coming to Doha, I was a football player in Nigeria. In Qatar, I have played for Al Arabi Club and for Al Shamal Club. I have been associated with the hotel since 2011.”
The footballer added: “I am very happy to win the tournament for my team for the second time. It is the result of a great team work. We played like a unit and every player put in his best.”
Speaking about the benefits of the sport event, Jonathan said: “I am very happy to be a part of the event. It was a very friendly tournament. It was more a networking and socialising event than a competition. The staff of the hotels is often busy with the work and gets rare opportunities for sports or networking. The tournament provided us both a chance to be physically active and to know each other.”
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