The Times Football Tournament’s 2nd Edition held on Friday, 12 December, was hotly contested by the sixteen participating teams for the glittering trophy and was enjoyed by the large crowd gathered at the Al-Bayan stadium.
Massoud Michael Antoun, General Manager of Kuwait International Bank (International Banking Division) was the Chief Guest. A timely start for the opening matches as scheduled at 6:30 am. The participants were divided up into two sets of teams with a brief introduction by organizers, Santos United Football Club. Group ‘A’ featured Rising Stars, Kerala Challengers, United Goans Centre, DHL FC., Goa Maroons, F.C. Sparx, Soccer Kerala and host Santos United whereas in Group ‘B’ Navelim Youth Centre, Kuwait Goans Association, Curtorcares United, Indian Strikers, Malabar United, Skynet Raiders, AVC Sports & Cultural Association and Don Bosco Oratory.
All teams showed strong determination to fight it out with tactical football prowess and fast play from the start in the knock-out format with most of the matches either ending in a goal-less or in a draw. The top four teams that reached to play the semifinals were Malabar United, Curtorcares United, Soccer Kerala and DHL FC. Indian Football Referees Association (IFRA) officiated the tournament under the guidance of President Sarto Baptista. At the semi-final stages, Malabar United defeated Curtorcares United by a 3:0 goal margin, and Soccer Kerala had a tough time dealing with DHL FC and the result was decided via tie breaker - sudden death, final score being 3:2.
A game of housie was conducted where the two prizes were claimed by Darwin (Jaldi 5) and Steven (Topline) and the prizes were given by Ex-KIFF Vice President, C.Gaspar Almeida and well-known Konkani writer, author and poet, Lino B. Dourado to the lucky winners. The organizers gave a breathing space in-between for the teams reaching the finals and Goa Maroons conducted the draw for their upcoming tournament. Navelim Villagers also conducted the draw for their upcoming tournament. Both organizers thanked Carmo Santos for giving them this opportunity.
The final game of the tournament had the two teams from Kerala - Malabar United and Soccer Kerala teams played superbly and aggressively, but Malabar United with determination not to concede a single goal, breaking forward on occasions won The Times Trophy by scoring 3 goals. It was great to end the day on such a high note.
At the prize distribution ceremony, Santos United President, Carmo Santos gracefully thanked the Al-Bayan Stadium authorities, his fellow committee members and players and the participating teams, KIFF committee members, IFRA officials and all those involved in making the tournament a big success.
A word of gratitude and special mention was made for the tournament’s sponsors including Shivy Bhasin, Managing Director Bhasin Co., Al Mailem Group of companies (TOYO Tyres), Kuldeep Singh Lamba, Managing Director-Al Mailem Group, Deepak Malhotra, General Manager - Ogab & Hamoud Malik Co., Canon – Naser Al-Sayer Group, Kuwait Qatar Insurance Co., and The Times Weekly Newspaper.
Shyam Kumar (Kharafi National Co.) was presented a Memento by BM Viegas for his long services with KIFF as Treasurer/Member. Sylvester Pereira of Santos United was honored with a Memento by Carmo Santos for his 10 years services.
Individual prizes went to Jibu Varghese of Malabar United for scoring the first goal of the finals, Jinesh of Soccer Kerala was declared the player of the match, the best goal keeper was awarded to Shaneer of Malabar United. The best discipline team was claimed by Curtorcares United.
This was the second time The Times publications has sponsored the tournament organized by Santos United and a special mention of Reaven D’Souza was made by the President Carmo Santos for the generous gesture. While presenting the Times trophy to the captains, the chief guest Massoud Michael Antoun congratulated the winners, Malabar United and the runners-up Soccer Kerala. He expressed his appreciation to the organizers and highlighted that sporting spirit and discipline should be continued, commenting further that he enjoyed the tournament matches and being in the company of football enthusiasts on the invitation of Santos United. Gifts were given to the IFRA officials.
Santos United expressed their appreciation and thanks to Blandino M. Viegas (KIFF President), Glen D'Souza & Fly, Joseph Gomes (DHL), Tome Levino Gracias, Kenneth Fernandes, Augusto Fernandes (Photographer), Rafael Fernandes & Fly, Johnsy D’Mello, Xaverina Boys Madel-Margao, the Arab Times, Kuwait Times, goa-world.com, Indiansinkuwait.com, timeskuwait.com, frontliners.com, Bernard Fernandes, and Domnic Pereira KIFF. All teams appreciated Santos United for hosting a well-organized tournament which ended at the scheduled time. Snacks, tea and coffee was served to the attendees.