Afghanistan school winsSeptember 7, 2017
The Astaqlal High School from Afghanistan broke into an extended session of celebrations at the end of the presentation ceremony of the Subroto Cup football tournament here on Wednesday.
Finishing the tightly-contested match under floodlights, the Afghan boys deserved the 5-4 win, via tie-break, over Government Model High School, Chandigarh, which finished second best for the second year running.
The final had the ingredients of developing into an intense contest but both teams failed to finish off the moves. The Chandigarh lads were cohesive to begin with but their game disintegrated as the match progressed. A couple of good saves by Astaqlal goalkeeper Hasibullah gave his team hope.
Nepolean and Karandeep Singh worked hard for Chandigarh. If only they could make the most of the forays which fizzled out outside the box. Astaqlal was happy to defend and looked to force the game into extra time and exploit their fitness against the Chandigarh boys.
Chandigarh’s best chance came in the second half but Nepolean lost patience and also control of the ball to end up shooting wide. He had none to challenge him and a few steps more into the box would have given him a better angle to place the ball.
In the tie-breaker, Afghanistan coach Wahidullah Wahidi replaced goalkeeper Hasibullah with Ali Hasan, who had done a decent job in the defence, after the first kick. The move worked as Hasan saved the second kick by Pawan Kumar even as Pritam Meetei, Balraj Singh, Amandeep Singh and Lei Sibijit scored.
For the Afghan team, Ali Zahidi, Mortaza Ramzi, Mahadi Ibrahim, Farid Hamidi and Baktash Mehmoodi made no mistake.
“I just told the boys to play to win which is their natural style. Bringing in a different goalkeeper was pre-planned. We had prepared for the penalty shootout,” said Wahidi.
Nepolean was adjudged the best player of the tournament and Hasibullah the best goalkeeper. Wahidi won the best coach award. The fair play trophy was awarded to Government Chawnefianga Middle School, Saidan Kolasib, Mizoram.