Goidhoo becomes champions of Baa Atoll Football Challenge
by Ali Shaheem
Goidhoo became champions of the Baa Atoll Football Challenge, after winning over Fehendhoo the final match held Tuesday at capital Eydhafushi’s official stadium.
Ishan “Sattu” Ibrahim mesmerized spectators, when just 6 minutes to end of the game, he dribbled from Goidhoo’s half past 5 Fehendhoo players, and shot into the net what turns out to be one of the best goals ever in the tournament organized by Eydhafushi’s U Sports.
Both teams did not get much opportunity to make way for goals, and both Sattu and Adam “Kithuna” failed to materialize the few chances they obtained in the first half.
With Goidhoo’s goal, Fehendhoo went on attack, but to no avail.
In a post-match interview, Goidhoo’s coach Mohamed Iqbal told Eydhafushi Times (ET) that, due to some players on injury, he was satisfied with the team’s performance.
“Actually, Goidhoo team was not at its best form. We had to bring about changes due to injuries. Moreover, Bassaam could not play due to his suspension. Despite all that, this is a really satisfactory achievement. We are happy with the performance of the international players. And the players from Eydhafushi, who signed up for us, have great potential,” Iqbal elaborated.
This is the third time that Goidhoo won the Baa Atoll Football Challenge, which is now in its fifth year. The other islands to win the tournament are Fehendhoo and Eydhafushi.
Kihaadhoo and Kuda Rikilu round up the five teams to have participated this year, with Maalhos withdrawing at short notice.
Both Goidhoo and Fehendhoo are islands in a separate smaller natural atoll next to the larger Baa atoll, and considered part of Baa atoll for administrative purposes.
Today’s final became a special event as the two islands, harbored by the same lagoon, historically and traditionally are friendly and socioeconomically depend on each other for various purposes, and thereby, consider themselves a single local community.
Fehendhoo is not only one of the least populous in Baa atoll but the whole Maldives archipelago as well. Yet, in football, Fehendhoo turns out one of the most talented in the country. The result was Fehendhoo winning this championship last year, with more pressure on the team this year to defend the title, once again facing Goidhoo in the final.
Goidhoo is also one of the strongest soccer strongholds, and the island is where most people from Fehendhoo go to daily in search of trade and other services.
Fehendhoo proved so strong as to defeat giants Eydhafushi, on its journey to the final of the tournament. Though Fehendhoo scored only one goal in the three matches played in the tournament, the team’s defense is strong.
Goidhoo has won the tournament two times, and prepares well beforehand. Only in 2013 was the team unable to reach the final. When the team was defeated in last year’s final, Goidhoo signed up two international players and two players from Eydhafushi for the current championship, strengthening its squad. The tournament saw Goidhoo score seven goals from three matches, and concede only one.
Baa Atoll Football Challenge is extremely popular as it offers an opportunity for aspiring soccerites to get scouted into the Maldivian premiere league or advent into professional football careers. U Sports also aims to use the extravaganza to revive the footballing spirit in the UNESCO heritage atoll.
The main sponsor of the tournament is Red Wave, with Araabee as co-sponsor. The catering partner is Eydhafushi’s Bella Vista Restaurant, while the telecom partner is Dhiraagu. Eydhafushi Times (ET) is the media partner once again for the tournament.