Third All-Island Inter–School Football Tournament
St. Benedicts's crowned champions

St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena beat defending champions Zahira College, Colombo, by one goal to nil in the final of the All-Island Inter-School Invitation Football Tournament to emerge champions last Sunday at the Sugathadasa Stadium, Colombo.

The tournament got underway on the 16th of January with 16 invited schools taking part in the competition.

The tournament was organized and conducted by Hameed-Al-Husseinie College’s Group of ‘80 for the third successive year. This year Best Deal (Pvt.) Ltd. sponsored the tournament for the first time.

Objectives of the event

The organizers were having two major objectives in organizing this event. While trying to establish fellowship among participants they also wanted to popularize the sport among school children. Apart from that, the organizers were also able to give young football players an opportunity to gain first hand experience of playing at Sugathadasa Stadium, an international venue. Some games of the tournament were played under floodlights.

Schools participated-

Zahira College-Colombo, Ananda College-Colombo, Al- Hikma College-Colombo, Hindu College-Colombo, Al Hilal Central College-Negombo, D. S. Senanayake College-Colombo, Hameed Al Husseinie College-Colombo, Wesley College-Colombo, De Mazenod College-Kandana, Holy Cross College-Kalutara, Zahira College-Mawanella, Zahira College-Puttalam, Isipatana College-Colombo, St. Thomas’ College-Matara, Maris Stella College-Negombo and St. Benedict’s College-Kotahena were the 16 schools that took part in the tournament.

The 16 particpants were from the three Divisions of the school structure. While there were 11 teams from Division One, four teams participated from Division Two while one team took part from Division Three.

In the first semi final, St. Benedict’s posted a three goals to two win over Zahira College, Mawanella.

Asela Tharanga scored the first goal in the 14th minute of play for St. Benedict’s while their forward player Nishankara Madusanka netted the second goal in the 38th minute.

At half time, St. Benedict’s led two goals to nil, but Zahira found the net twice through T. M. Zameel.

Two minutes before the final whistle St. Benedict’s College secured the winning goal through Asela Tharanga to win three goals to two.

Nisshankara Madusanka of St. Benedict’s College was adjudged the Best Player of the game.

Defending Champions Zahira College, Colombo beat hosts Hameed-Al-Husseinie College in the second semi-final three goals to two to reach the grand final.

Hameed-Al-Husseinie College drew first blood when M.A.M. Sabrin scored the first goal following a penalty in the 20th minute.

M.Siraj of Zahira College found the equalizer in the 26th minute, but the hosts took the lead again in the 30th minute when M.A.M.Yasir booted the second goal for Hameed-Al-Husseinie College.

At half time, Hameed-Al-Husseinie College led two goals to one. But the experienced Zahira players got two vital goals through M. Aslam and A. Shazny in 55th and 59th minutes respectively and went on to finish the game by three goals to two. M.Aslam of Zahira College won the Best Player of the game award.

Zahira College, Colombo who showed their dominance from the very beginning of the tournament were very keen to defend their title in the final.

They only struggled in the semi-final against hosts Hameed Al Husseinie College which they won three goals to two.

On the other hand, St. Benedict’s had cruised to the final thanks largely to their strong defence. Their forwards Asela Tharanga and Nisshankara Madusanka had been in good form too.

At half-time during the final, the scores were nil all.

Tharanga scored the solitary goal of the game for St. Benedicts’ four minutes into the second half and Zahira failed to find the equalizer although they had a few close chances.

Rumesh Sandaruwan of St. Benedict’s College was adjudged the Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament while M. A. M. Yasir of Hameed Al Husseinie College was the highest Goal Scorer with 10 goals.

M. T. M. Zameel of Zahira College, Mawanella was named the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament. Buddhika Sandaruwan of St. Benedict’s was adjudged the Player of the Final.

Hameed Al Husseinie College had some consolation when they won the consolation final beating Zahira College, Mawanella four goals to nile.

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