Baa atoll’s first community football tournament wraps up
Eydhafushi have been crowned champions of the first ever Baa Football Challenge, beating a determined Goidhoo side 6-1.
The final at the Eydhafushi Stadium on July 20 was covered by YES TV (PSM) and watched by a live crowd of around 700 spectators, including tourism minister Ali Waheed, Baa Atoll Council President Mabrook Naseer, and former Maldives National team players Ali Shiham and Mohamed ‘Bakaa’ Arif.
Eydhafushi won three of their group ties to secure a place in the semi-finals against Kihaadhoo, beating them 5-1, whilst Goidhoo won three of their four games in the run up to the final, scoring 12 against Maalhos to reach the semi-finals.
In-form Goidhoo started the final very positively and were the first to score, but despite some great football from both teams Eydhafushi proved too strong and made their home advantage count.
Commenting on his team’s overall win, Eydhafushi’s Captain, Mohamed Fasir, said: “We set out in the final to learn from all the mistakes of previous matches and just play the best we could. We were fortunate to have the advantage of playing at our home ground but our team is young and enthusiastic and we’re very grateful that this win will help to support their development even further.”
Initiated and sponsored by Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru to strengthen the bond between the 13 islands of Baa atoll, the Baa Football Challenge – the country’s biggest resort-organised football event – saw a total of 11 teams battle it out in 18 games across 18 days, scoring a total of 92 goals and delighting an estimated total of 5,000 in-stadium supporters.
The atmospheric closing ceremony saw additional tournament awards presented to:
- Best Defender – Razzan Rasheed (Eydhafushi)
- Best Midfielder – Shahee Moosa (Eydhafushi)
- Best Forward – Adam Nizam (Goidhoo)
- Best Keeper – Ali Ajfan Amjad (Eydhafushi)
- Best Coach – Shafy Ali (Eydhafushi)
- Best Player Under 21 – Ali Naseem (Eydhafushi)
- Fair Play Team – Kendhoo
The Player of the Tournament, Mohamed Fasir (Eydhafushi), was also awarded the Golden Boot, having scored 10 goals, narrowly beating Goidhoo’s Adam Nazir, who also scored 10 but in a slightly longer period of time. Eydhafushi’s Ali Naseem was the third top goal scorer of the tournament with a total of 7.
The tournament ended with tourism minister Waheed and Armando Kraenzlin, Regional Vice President of Four Seasons Resorts Maldives, unfurling a banner – “See You In 2020” – confirming the return of the Challenge next year.
“We set out with the intention of using football to explore and expand community relations, yet we have ended up with so much more,” Kraenzlin said.
“It has been a month of incredible talent, sportsmanship and bonding that has not only brought Baa atoll closer but has given a national platform to our incredible footballers and community spirit. My congratulations not only to Eydhafushi, Goidhoo, and all the individual award winners, but to every single member of the 11 participating teams for their contribution to this fantastic event.”
And the football wasn’t the only community connections being celebrated in Baa. In honour of PADI Women’s Dive Day, also held on Saturday July 20, women from Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giraavaru’s Dive, Marine Savers and Manta Trust teams introduced local female swimming teachers from the island of Eydhafushi to the magic world of diving.
Community spirit is strong in Baa!