Reliving the U12 Junior Gaurs League
We look back at the completion of yet another successful grassroot tournament for children under age 12.
Rejuvenated by the great success of the recently conducted U10 tournament – hailed for exceptional organisation and quality of play by coaches and former players alike – FC Goa immediately kicked off its U12 Junior Gaurs League in February. With the aim of finding and developing young stars from the state of Goa, the U12 tournament was the next step in FC Goa’s ambitious grassroot program. With over 62 schools participating in the tournament, this was an opportunity for kids to understand the game and develop their skill further.
The tournament which took place over a month, witnessed 930 young kids take part and deliver high-quality football in spite of the tight schedule. Out of the 62 teams, four teams – Our Lady of Rosary from Navelim, Our Lady Mother of Poor from Tilamola, Sunshine School which won the U10 tournament, and Saraswat Vidyalaya – impressed everyone alike with their skill and ability and made it to the semi-finals.
The semis and finals took place on a typically warm summer afternoon on the 16th of March at Nagoa Panchayat Grounds with all the energy of a big match day. Music blaring from the speakers, fans waving their flags, and players warming up on the pitch with intense focus all indicated that the final showdown was going to be not something to take casually.
Sunshine School took to the field against Saraswat Vidyalaya and immediately laid down the marker as the team to beat with a 4-0 demolition of Saraswat. Cheered on by fans, Sunshine played with immense skill and strong tactical awareness that belied their age. The second semi between Our Lady of Rosary and Our Lady Mother of Poor was keenly fought, with Our Lady of Rosary coming out on top in the penalty shoot-out after both teams cancelled each other out in regular time. The third match of the day saw Saraswat Vidyalaya and Our Lady Mother of Poor take each other on for the final place on the podium. Our Lady Mother of Poor played with a high tempo and put four goals past a helpless Saraswat and took third place which left the fans in the perfect mood for the final match of the evening.
Our Lady of Rosary was the underdog against Sunshine School, the latter looking to score two championships out of two, fresh off their victory in the U10 league recently. Rosary High School was out of the blocks from the first whistle and their intensity and pressure was too much for Sunshine to handle. Two quick goals within the first ten minutes took Sunshine by surprise. A third goal just before the half time break left Sunshine with a huge deficit to overcome. Sunshine managed to get a goal back in the second half but Our Lady of Rosary High School continued to press and managed to restore their 3 goal advantage with a goal towards the end.
It was a great display of football throughout, with over 380 goals scored during the tournament. Joyron Fernandes from our Lady Mother of Poor was awarded the golden boot for being the top scorer with 11 goals. Our chief guests coach Francis D’Souza, ex-Olympian Fortunato Franco, and FC Goa star Sahil Tavora congratulated all the participants and parents for coming out and supporting their kids. Mr. Franco also congratulated FC Goa for this endeavour and hoped that these grassroot tournaments will help kids achieve their footballing dreams.