Soccer Kerala Crowned Kuwait Champions in KIFF League Finals
Kuwait: Football is one area that brings Indians of different cultures and societies together in Kuwait.
Nobody is in any doubt that evil satellite television, making the games of brilliant teams such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and the English Premier teams available to all, has corrupted the sensitive spectator but that has not really taken away the excitement of enjoying Friday games in Kuwait.
In one of the best League finals conducted in the history of Kuwait Indian Football, Soccer Kerala, sponsored by Shifa Al Jazeera,became the first team from Kerala to win the prestigious J P D’Mello Memorial KIFF League Trophy.
It was great to see a number of spectators and football fans turning up to watch the finals. Though the match was played under floodlights, it was tough on the players with summer ‘shamal’ winds blowing and temperatures near to the 40°mark.
Soccer Kerala was crowned new Champions of Kuwait after beating FC Sparx 1-0 at Kuwait’s Mishref Grounds on 20th May 2016.
Soccer Kerala’s star striker and top scorer of the league Jineesh (Kuttapu) scored the winning goal midway into the second half placing a shot past FC Sparx goalkeeper Mubashir, who, earlier had denied the champions at least on 3 occasions with excellent saves off Shefeek, Jinto and Ramsheed.
Sparx, coached by former India International Jaykumar, played a calculated game all throughout with captain Hussain Ali, Ahmed, Hisham, and wing-back Savio Rodrigues running untiringly. However, hot, windy conditions and perfectly timed tackles by Kerala’s most feared defender Dominic made it difficult for FC Sparx to make a comeback.
Soccer Kerala played to great tactics unleashed by coach Biju Johny. They stood strong till the end encouraged by frenzied supporters who raced onto the field to hug players upon final whistle.
The euphoria created by the jubilant supporters during prize distribution was nothing short of a ‘Champions League’ final.
KUTTAPPU DAZZLES FOR SOCCER KERALA
Soccer Kerala’s young striker Jineesh (Kuttappu) who was outstanding throughout the season dazzled once again in the final with exceptional display – amazing touch, ball control and footballing technique. He was rightly adjudged man of the match.
Jineesh was also the Top Scorer of the Season with 17 goals. He was presented with a trophy and a gold memento sponsored by KIFF Ex-President V K Vohra.
THE CHAMPIONS: SOCCER KERALA
Sarath, Dominic, Vishnu, Sajesh, Jinto, Nidheesh, Ramsheed, Sebastian (captain), Nidhish, Nidheesh, Shefeek, Jineesh, Kishore, Prince, Sujith, Majeed, James, Faizal, Ratheesh, Manu, Kochumon, Sajesh, Aivey, Shehin, etc.
Team Manager: George Joseph; Head Coach: Biju Johny
KIFF PRESIDENT SPEAKS HIS HEART
KIFF President Derrick Gomindes was the chief guest on the occasion while Nasser Al Konan of Gulf Cable & Electrical Company was the guest of honor.
Asif Juzer of ProSports was a special invitee along with KIFF Ex-Presidents and presidents of all participating clubs. A number of other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.
In the Presidential address, Derrick Gomendis thanked the sponsors, KIFF Managing Committee members, affiliates and everyone associated with KIFF for the support rendered towards Indian football in Kuwait.
While showing concern towards the future of KIFF due to increasing costs incurred in running the federation, Derrick highly commended the services of KIFF referees who came forward to officiate matches.
“We look to move ahead with everyone’s support and take Indian football in general to a higher pedestal,” stated the President. The dynamic personality is a former footballer and current Head Coach of Goa Maroons. He has been involved with football activities in Kuwait since 1992 and been in the KIFF Managing Committee 6 times.
Vice-President Xavier Furtado delivered the vote of thanks.
Fr Franco Pereira Sdb., President of Don Bosco Oratory, had a special prayer to conclude. He had a word of praise for KIFF for the encouragement and opportunities given to youth through Indian football.
OFFICIALS FOR THE SEASON
The final was officiated by Jerry D’Mello assisted by Dylan and Victor Andrade on the lines; Rosario Colaco was the fourth official.
KIFF referees for the season were appointed from different clubs affiliated to the federation. KIFF referees body was run by the main coordinator Bernard Fernandes assisted by Robert Bernard and KIFF Sports Secretary Dominic Pereira.
The appointed referees were well applauded for their capability and consistency throughout the season.
AVC Overseas Sports and Cultural Association, popularly known as AVC–Kuwait were crowned ‘Season Champions’ having secured maximum points in overall matches played throughout the season 2015~16.
This was AVC’s 7th Seasons Champions title since the inception of the club; AVC was instituted in the year 2001.
The trophies were collected by team captain Sebiton Colaco and Stalin D’Cruz.
FAIR PLAY AWARD AND OTHER AWARDS
Glittering individual prizes and trophies were presented at the prize distribution ceremony.
AVC-Kuwait bagged the prestigious Fair Play Award; the trophy was collected by AVC’s popular player Vincy Pereira.
Top Scorer of the League – Jineesh (Soccer Kerala)
Man of the Match – Jineesh (Soccer Kerala)
The prizes were given away at the hands of KIFF President Derrick Gomendis, Guest of Honor Nasser Konan, Dominic Pereira, Jinu Kurien, Robert Bernard, Claro Fernandes, Marshall Fernandes, Raymond D’Sa, Fidelis Fernandes, V K Vohra, Marian Gomendis, etc.
COMPERES FOR THE FINALS
Gasper Crasto and Penny Rebello were comperes for the evening – evoking excitement and enthralling spectators throughout the game.
DJ Cheslee provided the sound and music. The moments were captured on camera by Kuwait’s well-known photographer Rivon Gomes, Noushad and Julio Cardoso. Goa Caterers (Bernard) were caterers for the day.
J P D’MELLO KIFF LEAGUE
The year-long ‘desert’ league which usually begins in October is played in extreme climatic conditions – sometimes in winter cold as low as 2°C and summers nearing 50°C.
Kuwait Indian Football Federation (KIFF) established in 1984 controls the League and tournaments organized in Kuwait.
The League played under the auspices of KIFF provides Indian players with the opportunity to showcase their football skills against the best competition, while emphasizing teamwork, discipline and fair play — in perhaps one of India’s only 11-aside recognized league abroad.
J P Memorial Rolling Trophy – KIFF League is named after late Jerome Pascoal D’Mello (popularly known in India and Kuwait as J P).
J P was an ex-FIFA referee, Member of Asian Football Confederation Referees Committee, and Ex-Hon. Secretary and Member of Bombay Referees’ Association.
A founder President of the federation, J P was the prime architect in conceiving the idea of forming KIFF. His memory is kept alive by KIFF through affiliated Indian clubs by naming the KIFF League after him.
J P who lived in Andheri East, Mumbai left for heavenly abode in 1994.
Teams that participated in the season 2015~16 included AVC Sports & Cultural Association, Curtorcares United, DHL Sports Club, Don Bosco Oratory, FC Sparx, Goan Overseas Association (Goa Maroons), YRC Rising Stars, Indian Strikers, Malabar United FC, Navelim Youth Centre (NYC), Santos United, Skynet-Miracles, Soccer Kerala, Kerala Challengers, United Goans Center (UG Strikers), and Nagoa-Kuwait Goan Association (KGA).
KIFF MANAGING COMMITTEE FOR SEASON 2015~16:
President – Derrick Gomindes (GOA Maroons)
Vice-President – Xavier Furtado (AVC)
Gen. Secretary – B M Viegas (KGA -Nagoa Verna)
Sports Secretary – Domnick Pereira (Curtorcares United)
Treasurer – JinuKurien (Kerala Challengers)
Registrar – Marshall Fernandes (YRC Rising Stars)
Asst. Sports Secretary – Claro Fernandes (DHL)
PRO – Austin Abreo (Skynet Miracles FC)
Executive Member – Robert Bernard (Indian Strikers)
RUNNERS-UP: FC Sparx
Mubasir, Hisham Yakub, Savio Rodrigues, Sanju Karekkad, Mohd Kagzer, Mani Shan Kareem, Ahmed Ali Khan, Hussain Ali Khan (captain), Anas Kutimon, Mujeeb Rahman, Jithin Chacko, Nameen Kareen, Biju Mani, Praveen Kumar, Rajesh Gopal, Zaheer, Kamnas Puthan, Mohd Mahi, Saheer, Nithin Mohan, Vameer, Rashid, Jamnesh, Rajith Kumar, etc.
Team Manager: Samir Nasri; Head Coach: Jaykumar
RECORD OF LEAGUE FOR LAST 10 YEARS
2005~06 – Navelim Youth Centre
2006~07 – Kuwait Goan Association
2007~08 – Navelim Youth Centre
2008~09 – Goa Maroons
2009~10 – United Friends Club
2010~11 – GOA Maroons
2011~12 – Don Bosco Oratory
2012~13 – Navelim Youth Centre
2013~14 – AVC Overseas Association
2014~15 – Don Bosco Oratory
Report by Gasper Crasto