The most widely played sport on the planet; ‘the beautiful game’ as it was called by Pele is truly unparalleled in absolute reach and drama. Football is the largest religion in the world and one which commands startling levels of devotion from its followers. Since the inception of the progenitor of football in 476 B.C. to the invention of the modern game in England and the fiercely contested World Cup in Russia, football has never failed to amaze and fascinate spectators and players alike.
The contemporary history of the world’s favorite game spans more than 100 years. It all began in 1863 in England when rugby football and association football branched off on their different courses and the Football Association in England was formed – becoming the sport’s first governing body. The very earliest form of the game for which there is scientific evidence was an exercise from a military manual dating back to the second and third centuries BC in China.
This year’s world cup perfectly captured this gamut of emotions and threw up surprises along the way that left everyone bewildered. From the pitiable state of Messi’s Argentina to Neymar’s Oscar-worthy theatrics, there was a dash of the unexpected around every corner. The tournament also unearthed some of football’s young gems, who missed no opportunity to showcase that they were ready to relieve the old sentinels of their duties. In that sense, the competition signaled the end of an era and ushered in a new generation of players to adorn bedroom walls and dreams in the years to come.
Closer home, the run-up to our very own Invitational Soccer Tournament had its fair share of excitement and fervor. The exploits of last year’s team-a dominating run to the final culminating in a climax that saw them settle for silver after a spirited show-undoubtedly whetted the appetite for more intense and edge of the seat action this year. Even the heavens seemed to have high hopes from the teams this year and, along with a truly remarkable pitch, provided a magical setting for this year’s tournament. All of this, coupled with the gritty determination and undying resolve possessed by all the participating promised to create a truly sumptuous week of football action.
True to the promise, St. George’s kick-started their campaign in grand fashion, sailing past Pinegrove School 6-0. Alas, the hosts themselves could not emulate the heroics of last year, going down rather meekly to Pinegrove School in their opening fixture. Although they showcased undeniable fight and determination against St. George’s, it proved to be insufficient in overcoming a single goal deficit and our challenge came to an end in the group stage itself as we succumbed to a 1-0 defeat.
Once we entered the business end of the tournament, though, after having witnessed a fair share of lopsided and well-fought contests alike, only two teams remained. As Kasiga School and Wynberg-Allen took to the field, each player undoubtedly thinking of scripting a triumph; the heavens opened up, perhaps just to test the caliber of every playing soul and to make sure that at the end, the trophy was truly earned. The first half beyond ordinary saw Kasiga grabbing the lead through two exceptional efforts, a late surge by the Alwynians did little to repair the damage, though, as Kasiga School ultimately triumphed to emerge as the champions of The 5th SelaQui Invitational Soccer Tournament.
— Shaurya Veer Singh