Off season tournament gives football players a chance to practice on the court
September 11, 2014
By Paulo Fugen
After a grueling eight hours, the HBKU Futsal tournament that began with 64 players on eight different teams, turned into a victory celebration resulted for the victorious ‘Team Pakistan’ at the second annual Futsal World Cup last Friday, Sept. 5.
In the end, ‘Team Pakistan’ defeated ‘Team Italy’ in a contested final matchup at the HBKU Student Center. The teams were tied at one goal apiece, after time expired on the match. In overtime, ‘Team Pakistan’ finally scored two more goals to take a 3-1 victory.
The Futsal Tournament was created when Mubashar Rizvi, a member of the HBKU Sports and Games club, wanted to create a football-related event during the off-season of the regular football tournaments. The result was Futsal, a universally recognized game of five-on-five football typically held on indoor courts. Because of weather constraints in the Doha heat, the Futsal format was the best alternative. “Most of us just want to play football,” said Rizvi.
The futsal tournament was the second iteration of the Futsal World Cup in Education City, but this year, the tournament organizers introduced several changes.
One of the more important changes was the introduction of an entry fee, which Rizvi said would be used to fund donations to ECUnited4Palestine, a student fundraising initiative in EC. The decision proved to be popular among the players.
“If every team donates QR 200, that comes to QR 1,600, this is a huge contribution from us,” said Abdul Rafey Siddiqui, a mechanical engineering student at Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMU-Q). “This shows we are not only playing football, but that we want to help Palestine too.”
The new structure also included an updated system of counting goals to decide a victor in the case of a draw, as well as an additional group stage to allow more opportunities to score. Rizvi said that these changes were made in order to give the players more playing time.
In another change, the organizers required every team to be named after a region of the world, which led to teams being named ‘Subcontinent’ and ‘Near East.’ “We tried to show how many regions were represented in the EC community,” Rizvi said.
Players found the idea of representing regions instead of schools unique. “We have such a wide scope of regions being represented [in EC],” said Abd Ellah, a chemical engineering student at TAMU-Q. “Having each person representing their culture is something special.”
The teams represented 20 nations, including Libya, India, France, and the USA. The tournament also allowed staff, faculty and alumni to play alongside students, which led to the creation of a team comprised entirely of alumni.
For Demetrios Elias, the special assistant to the Dean at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q), the chance to play as a staff member was a nice chance to get back into the game, something he hadn’t played for several months. “I just want to play, I just want to have fun,” said Elias.