KARACHI: The Karachi Grammar School lived up to its reputation, winning the Karachi United Schools’ Championship (KUSC), on Sunday.
KUSC is a football tournament played out between 22 schools in Karachi every year. This year the final was held between Southshore School for A’ levels and the Karachi Grammar School (KGS) at the Baloch Mujahid Football Ground.
The game promised to be a riveting one. KGS were the favourites since they have won almost every KUSC title since the inauguration of the tournament six years ago. Last year, however, they had lost the final to The Lyceum School.
Lyceum annihilated Beaconhouse, Gulshan campus, by seven goals to set up a semi-final against Southshore. In a result that few could have predicted, Southshore beat Lyceum in a one-sided penalty shootout to reach the final for the first time.
St. Patrick’s High School also went all the way to the semi-finals, beating Nixor College for A’levels 4-3 on penalties, but they lost out to KGS in the semi-finals, 2-1.
The final started off tight, KGS had good control of the ball but Southshore defended just as well. The tempo picked up in the second half but no one could break the stalemate. Southshore went down to 10 men after Durhan Akbani received two yellow cards and was sent off.
The game went into extra time after 90 minutes were played out. Finally, Hamza Javed scored in both halves of extra time to win the game for KGS.
In the award ceremony, Taha Rehman of Lyceum was awarded the Golden Boot for most goals scored. Shaezar Razi, KGS, received the most valuable player award while KGS coach, Abid Elahi won the Best Coach award for the second time. Danial Naqi of Southshore claimed the Peoples Choice Award, which was decided by an online poll.
Haseeb Malik, vice-captain of the KGS team, was brimming with satisfaction. “We’re so proud of the team, the chemistry is great,” he said. “We’d like to thank every single KGS supporter out there for the semi-finals and the finals, this is what we live for.”
“Southshore pressed really well and kept us on our toes and we really had to turn around and up our game in the end,” he added.
“We’re ecstatic! We worked really hard throughout the year,” said Jibran Fawaad, captain of the KGS team, “I also have to give a special thanks to Ahsan Chawla for energising the crowd.”
Ahsan Ali, a defender on Southshore’s squad, also felt they had achieved plenty. “It is the first time that our team made it to the finals, starting from the qualifiers,” said Ahsan. “We worked really hard for this, but it’s a game, one loses and one wins, I was honoured to play with my team. The credit goes to Sir Parker, Danial Naqi, our captain, and Sir Mehmood, our coach.”
Unfortunately, KGS’s luck with injuries did not improve. They were already missing their first choice goalkeeper and defender Hassan Saad,when Saad Ahmed Khan was badly injured on the right side of his face in a collision with another player during extra time, he is currently in the hospital.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2011.