Friends Mambad bag JSC-Tamer Super Cup

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JEDDAH — Living up to the tag of favorites, Friends Mambad outplayed an out-of-form Blasters FC 3-0 in the final of the 40-plus football tournament and bagged the JSC-Tamer Super Cup at the Hilal Shyam Football ground on Khaled Bin Waleed Street here.

The much-expected encounter turned out into a one-sided affair as Blasters flattered to deceive in the final. Blasters, who had impressed in earlier matches and looked as worthy challengers, fell flat as the whole team looked a tired lot and their key man Rasheed, who was the standout player of the tournament, failed to rise upto the occasion.

The soccerfest finale began with the added attraction of headball matches. Blue Star Club defeated JSC in semifinal first and then went on to crown itself as champion by beating Badar Tamam Town Team Areecode in final.

The Under-17 exhibition match between India XI, comprising players from IISJ and Indian soccer academies, and Saudi XI stole the show. While Saudi boys showed class with possession and position game, the spirited Indian boys outplayed them.

The gritty Indian boys opened their account through Imran but Hammad Nabeed leveled the scores for Saudis off a nicely-taken penalty. But speedy striker Hazem Jaffer struck twice in the second session to seal the match for Indians.

During half-time, another colorful event, Tuf of War, thrilled the holiday crowd. A tactful United Jeddah outmuscled Kasavu Kalikavu twice to win the best-of-three affair. Kalikavu men showed promise in the beginning but United regrouped soon clinically and clinched honors. India Media Forum General Secretary Kabeer Kondotty was the chief referee who controlled the tense finals.

Chief guest Ramnarayan Iyer, executive editor of Saudi Gazette, Abeer Group Director Dr. Ahmed Alungal, T.P. Basheer of Tamer Group, Mayinkutty of Malayalam News, Shamsuddin of Madhyamam and Vilas Adoor met with the 40-plus finalists before the kickoff.

As expected Friends Mambad meant business right from the kickoff. They were on fire and determined, while Blasters disappointed. Mambad took the lead through a very energetic Razak in the 24th minute and Anwar produced a brace in the second half to emerge champions. Razak was adjudged the Player of the Final.

The following players won the special performance awards:

Best goalkeeper — Rasheed of Friends; best defender — Ayyub of JSC; best midfielder — Mansoor of Blue Star; best forward — Haris of Friends and player of the tournament — Rasheed of Blasters.

Chief guest Ramnarayan, T.P., Mayinkutty, Shamsuddin, SIFF Vice President Nizam Mambad, K.T.A. Muneer, JSC President Jaffer Ahmed, Basheer Machingal and Praveen Padman presented the trophies.

Zamir Kannur, Jazim Haris, Basil Basheer and Rafi Beemapally led the committee for an orderly prize-distribution ceremony. — SG


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