Written by: Hatim M Jabir and Hatim Karimjee

The Mohammadi football Cup is one event that most community members in the United Kingdom hold dear. The tournament is named in honor of our late beloved Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin RA and is an event that brings together people of all ages. The young and old work as one in organising the football event every year. This tournament was created to unite community members from all over the UK in their shared love of the game.

This year the tournament was hosted by Leicester with 4 senior teams and one junior team entering the tournament for Nottingham. Optimism was high as the players came together to play for the trophy.

Nottingham is proud that this year’s winners were… Nottingham! Since my team won and because I’m a major football fan, let me give you the highlights of what went down and how Nottingham claimed victory.

After a battle to get through the group stages Nottingham A were drawn against the skillful London B team. An early goal from the top goal scorer Aliasgar Hassanali was enough to set up a semi-final match against Manchester’s A team. The game was fiercely competitive with both teams matching each other’s skill. Ammar Abdullah’s thunderbolt of a strike looked to be the goal that sent Nottingham through the finals, but Manchester showed their experience and equalised to force the game into the dreaded penalty shootout.

Both teams struggled with their penalties, with the keepers from both teams coming out on top. But it was Hatim Hassanali who’s two class saves set up the opportunity for Adnan Bhaijee to blast home the penalty to send Nottingham through to the final against the defending champions London A.

The final against London proved to be hard fought with two teams wanting to go all the way. Shabbir Esmail, Hussein Hassanali and Huzaifa Morbi held firm at the back and limited the attacking strength of London A from start to finish, which they had done so throughout the tournament. In the end the teams could not be separated and another penalty shootout ensued. Hatim Hassanali again pulled off a huge save and Ammar Abdullah scored the winning penalty ensuring that long-time captain Shabbir Esmail was once again hoisting the cup at the end of the day after a long wait of 5 years.

Emulating their seniors, the Nottingham juniors’ team also won the tournament through a penalty shootout against London.

Football is a sport that promotes teamwork, co-operation, respect and good sportsmanship, and all these qualities were displayed in abundance by the Nottingham Junior team. The boys did the Nottingham community proud by showcasing their skills and quick footwork in order to get to the final with 7 out of 8 wins. The final was a close call and ended in a penalty shootout, where the boys had to maintain nerves of steel. The final was against the London A team, who were the only team to beat them so far, but the Nottingham juniors showed determination and a positive attitude, never giving up until they were crowned champions. One of the reasons they did so well this year was because of the way each and every member of the team supported and encouraged each other. This will be a day that will be remembered by all for years to come and we hope to see many more wins for the boys in the future.

Esa Karimjee was awarded player of the tournament and Hatim Hassanali won player of the tournament and the golden glove for his team.