The Edukick Football Tournament was organized by Slum Soccer on 16th June 2021, in the B. B. Colony ground in Kamptee, to provide an opportunity to the local children to participate in a competitive football tournament. The Tournament also served to help the participants come together and support each other, during the challenging times brought by the ongoing pandemic.
The Tournament, played in a 7-a-side format, saw enthusiastic participation of 6 teams (and a total of 60 players) competing for the trophy. The teams comprised of players from 6 different communities of Kamptee, viz., Sayeed Nagar, Warispura, RuhiGunj A, RuhiGunj B, Futana Oli, and B.B. Colony. These localities have been engaged in various activities of Slum Soccer’s Edukick initiative during the course of lockdown and we were overjoyed to see their excitement to play in the tournament.
The 6 teams were divided into 2 groups for the league rounds, with each team playing the other 2 in their group. Group A was composed of RuhiGunj B, Warispura and Sayeed Nagar. Group B consisted of B. B. Colony, RuhinGunj A and Futana Oil.
The group games were keenly fought by all the teams as only the top 2 teams from each group could progress to the semi-finals. RuhiGunj A won both their group games and emerged as the clear winner of Group B with B. B. Colony taking second place after beating Futana Oil 4-0. Group A was a tighter affair as Sayeed Nagar topped the group with one win and one draw, while Warispura booked their slot in the semi-finals after a 3-0 win over RuhiGunj B.
The first semi-final between RuhiGunj A and Warispura had end-to-end action as both teams attacked and tried to gain the upper hand. Though the first half ended goalless, RuhiGunj A was able to shift to a higher gear and dominated the second; scoring two goals towards the end of the match and becoming the first finalist.
B.B. Colony came face to face with Sayeed Nagar in the second semi-final. B.B colony scored first goal in the starting minute of the match to seize the imperative. The Sayeed Nagar team showed commendable spirit and persisted in their efforts to draw level. However, it was B. B. Colony who scored another late goal and confirmed their match-up with RuhiGunj A in the final of the tournament.
The final was the most eagerly awaited match and it absolutely lived up to expectations. Both B.B colony and RuhiGunj A, had demonstrated brilliant moves during their league outings and they carried that form into the finals as well. The energy displayed by both teams was electrifying as they played their hearts out for the trophy.
Team B. B. Colony performed exceptionally well and having lost 1-0 to RuhiGunj A in the league matches, they were determined to end up on the winning side in the match that mattered the most! They exploded out of the paddock and scored 2 goals in the first half, going into the half-time break with the clear upper hand. Team RuhiGunj A however, had proved their mettle during the tournament and they did so again. With renewed strategy and an extra dose of energy, they made a remarkable comeback and stunned B B Colony with 2 consecutive goals within 2 minutes of the second half. The score were level and the tension was rising throughout the second half as each time tried to gain an advantage. Finally, B. B. Colony captain Mohammad Akhtar scored the decisive goal in the dying minute of the match and help his team emerge winners of the tournament. The final score ended3-2 in favor of B. B. Colony and all the spectators were thoroughly entertained by the thrilling display by both teams.
The closing ceremony was carried out in the august presence of Umar Ahmed who himself was a professional footballer, spending his 20 years as striker for renown Rabbani club of Kamptee.
During his address at the closing ceremony, he thanked Slum Soccer for organizing football tournament for children from the slums of Nagpur. He also said “football is not merely a game being played between 2 teams but it is a game that improves your life skills, relationship with others and encourages you to respect each other on and off the field”. We couldn’t agree more with this message!