There’s hardly any time to think in normal tournament football – but CONIFA takes that to the extreme with their intense competition.
With just a day’s rest between fixtures, our African teams were back in pursuit of international glory in Matchday two.
Unfortunately, all three African side’s matches clashed meaning Le Chic Foot D’Afrique were on hand to catch the host nation, Barawa, face North American Cascadia.
GROUP A – Barawa 1 (Bettamer ‘9) v Cascadia 2– Colston Avenue
With a heavy schedule to contend with and certain players fasting due to Ramadan, it was always going to be tough for the hosts – but their job was made even more difficult by the absence of Solomon Sambou, who was an influential player in their 4-0 opening day win.
Sambou, alongside other members of the squad, had work commitments, meaning they couldn’t feature.
But you wouldn’t have been able to tell that Barawa were depleted with their flying start. The hosts quickly mounted pressure on Cascadia’s final third, and in the first ten minutes of the game, grabbed their fifth goal of the tournament so far.
A floated cross from Gianni Crichlow found the head of Mohammed Bettamer, who was starting his first game of the tournament.
The targetman had the simple ask of heading home past Will Marment to open up his account for the competition.
However, despite a confident start, Barawa found themselves penned in by an efficient Cascadia outfit – who quickly piled the pressure on the Somalians.
Hafed Al Droubi in the Barawa goal prevented an equaliser with a fine double save amidst a goalmouth scramble, but despite the best efforts of Barawa’s defence, Cascadia eventually got their deserved goal.
A knocked cross split Barawa open, allowing Josh Doughty to fire past Al Droubi and restore parity to the game.
Whilst Barawa’s goal after sustained pressure ended the severity of their attacks, Cascadia’s leveller only served to galvanise themselves, as they took the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Some slightly sloppy marking at a corner allowed the North American side to take the lead for the first time at the tournament.
The second half was another period of tight affair only interrupted by the frequent niggly tackles both sides were leaving on each other.
As frustrations slowly rose on either side, the referee’s refusal to reach for his cards could be commended – but in reality, it only increased the tensions in the atmosphere.
Barawa were also being frustrated by the scoreline , and with the clock ticking down, they launched attack after attack for an equaliser.
It never came off for the hosts, and immediately after the final whistle the atmosphere boiled over into a brawl, which saw reds produced for Aryan Tajbakhsh and Joshua Doughty, both influential players for their sides.
Group C – Szekely Land 5 v 0 Matabeleland – Coles Park Stadium
Matabeleland’s tournament took a turn for the worst in this one – but their infectious spirit and energy has not deserted them.
For the majority of the first half they had done very well to keep their Hungarian based opposition quiet, but unfortunately for the African side, it wasn’t to be.
With a fair few forays forward in the opening stages, any attacking impetus was taken away from Matabeleland after their goalkeeper, Mthulisi Dube, was sent off after clattering a Szekely Land attacker.
The goalless game changed after Matabeleland were reduced to ten, and before half-time, they were 3-0 down.
After the break, Szekely Land bagged another two to leave Matabeleland unable to finish in the top two – but still in third place on Goal Difference.
Group D – United Koreans of Japan 0 v 0 Kabylia – Larges Lane
After conceding eight last time out to being the only African side to pick up any points, the Kabylians can be pleased with yesterday’s efforts.
They were boosted by a healthy contingent of travelling Kabylians, but despite the crowd roaring them on, the Kabylians remain the only African team yet to score at the tournament.
GROUP STANDINGS – MATCHDAY TWO
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