Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Safer Neighbourhood Tournament 2013 a roaring success

Emdad Rahman: The finale to the 11th Annual SNT took place on Monday 9th September at Mile End Stadium.

The showcase football tournament played out the initial rounds on Sunday 1st Sept with 48 participating teams across three age categories: Under 16’s, Seniors and Veterans.

Teams from across London and the UK took part in one of the biggest one day football tournaments in the country with teams travelling from Luton, Milton Keynes, Basildon and a number of London Boroughs. SNT Cup 2011 was officially Supported by the FA.

A long summer day saw Chettle Rangers and Somers Town reaching the U16 final. London APSA and Tower Hamlets FC set themselves up for the senior final whilst Stepney Legends and London Tigers Vets beat off the competition to set up a glittering veterans final.

Cup final day started off with in controversy. Much to the disappointment of an expectant crowd, the U16 final was awarded to Somers Town after Chettle Rangers failed to turn up on time for kick off.

The Veterans final more than made up for the initial disappointing start. Stepney Veterans from Tower Hamlets went head to head with London Tigers from Westminster. A tense start meant both teams created little chances but it was London Tigers who settled quicker and a goal arrived just before half time courtesy of man of the match Edson Cata, who beat two defenders before slotting the ball under the keeper. Stepney came out attacking in the second half but failed to create clear goal attempts.

The inspired substitution onto the field of play of Akthar Hussain led to the left winger beating to men to the byline before whipping in. Cross for Stepney FC striker Chris Smith to slot home decisively.

The Tigers roared and it was that man Cata again who cheekily nicked the ball off a Stepney defender before beating the keeper to make it 2-1. Stepney pushed forward valiantly in search of an equaliser and gaping holes in the rearguard were cruelly exploited as Tigers Chief Executive Mesba Ahmed finished clinically on the break to make it 3-1.

Man of the match Edson Cata was awarded the Mujibur Rahman trophy - named after Stepney FC veteran Mujibur Rahman who lost a battle with cancer last year.

The Senior final brought together two powerful forces in regional football - London APSA and Tower Hamlets FC. Both teams are currently competing in the Essex Senior League and the game was always going to be a close contest with both line ups cancelling each other out in midfield. Limited chances were created in comparison to previous games. Midway through the second period a half cleared ball by a Tower Hamlets defender allowed the ASPA striker to drive a fierce shot which rebounded of the defender. The keeper was left with no chance as the ball hit the underside of the bar and went in. The jubilant APSA players celebrated with their fans as this proved to be the only goal of the game. APSA walked away with the SNT Cup and the £1,000 cheque.

Billy Graham was named man of the match for the Senior game. The award was named after Malcolm Lane who sadly passed away this year after losing a battle with Cancer. Malcolm was a friend of Stepney FC and worked for TATA Consultancy Services who carry out a range of work with young people from Stepney FC.

SNT founder and Inner London football League President Abdal Ullah, shortlisted for a prestigious Asian Football Awards that will take place at Wembley Stadium said: “I am delighted with the 11th SNT Cup. Once again the SNT Cup has attracted the best quality grassroots footballers in our community. I would also like to take this opportunity to firstly thank the organisers Stepney FC helped by Vallance FC who worked tirelessly over the 2 days to make this another successful tournament and also all the teams.

"The SNT Cup helps to build community cohesion and I would finally like to thank Channel 9 our Media partner and all our supporters and sponsors, without whom the event would not be possible."

Stepney FC (Tournament Organisers) Chairman Abdul Boshir said ‘"I would like to take this opportunity to firstly thank all the volunteers from Stepney FC who worked tirelessly over the 2 days to make this another successful tournament and also all the teams that took part.

"My congratulations to the winning teams and commiserations to the runners up and hopefully they will come back next year to go one better."

Khoyrul Shaheed from Human Relief Foundation (Sponsors) said: "We support beneficial grassroots community events and have enjoyed supporting the SNT. The general level of gameplay has been inspiring."

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