The Lyceum School’s rivalry with Karachi Grammar School (KGS) and Nixor College has raged on for years but on Friday they decided to set differences aside and join forces to play for charity.
Aman Ashraf Jafri and Hamza Akhai, ex-Lyceumites, had organised the AH Cup, football match, with Studio Maxx Presentations to raise money for Dar ul Sukun. One of their main aims was to overcome the existing rivalry between the school teams. KGS teamed up with Lyceum wearing black while Nixor had to join forces with Southshore and were wearing red at the DHA Rahat Football Stadium.
An air of wholesome sportsmanship and charity had replaced the palpable tension that prevailed at previous encounters between the four sides. The rivalry stems from the annual Karachi United School’s Championship organised by the Karachi United Football Club where KGS and Lyceum are usually the finalists. Last year Lyceum managed to break KGS’s five-year run win.
KGS Football Captain Shaezer Razi was coaching the team before the match. He said that this was the first time his team was playing with Lyceum. He added that it was good to play together for a good cause.
Both teams seemed to be enjoying the game immensely as the best of players from both sides were in one team. The captain of the Lyceum football team, Taha Rehman, said that his team had a good set of strikers. Karim Kerai, the captain of the Southshore Football team said that they had a 50% chance of winning.
The game kicked off on a high note with Rafay Salahuddin of KGS scoring within the first minute. This was followed by a yellow card from the opposing team and a second goal scored by Mizyal Wahid from Lyceum. The black team dominated possession and the few breaks that the red team managed were flagged offside.
The black team was worried about their defense as Kareem Kerai of Southshore scored a brilliant goal from a tight angle after picking up a long pass and making a run down the right flank. A few minutes later, Osama Haleem managed to get away from his marker to slot home a second. By half time, both teams had scored two goals.
In the second half of the game, both teams showed that their defense was better than their attack as less goals were scored. Wahid managed to score the winning goal (3:2) which brought the game to an end an hour and 10 minutes after it had started.
According to Kerai, the match was different than the others as it was not about physical strength or ego but playing together for charity.
However, according to National Referee Habibullah, who referees most of the inter-school matches at the stadium, such events usually become quite competitive. He added that he had to pull out the yellow card three times and the black team was playing very roughly. “This match was particularly refined as I saw tough competition among the best players from all the four teams,” he said.
Marina Ali, an O-Level student from City School Darakshan Campus, said that everyone knew the KGS-Lyceum team would win.
Off the field
As a battle raged on the field, the crowd was chatting away and broke off occasionally to keep an eye on the score. At half-time, a girl wondered what was going on and why they were clapping. Many others were busy taking photos or fuming for revenge as some students started a ‘phadda’ over which school was better.
Recent Southshore graduates, Marwah Moten and Sameel Noman said that they were their to meet up with old classmates and support their team.
According to one of the organisers, there were more than 1,000 students at the match.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2011.
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