That was the mindset we went with to JSSL International football tournament in Singapore: A tournament with over 200 teams from across Asia, 3000 players and at 10 different venues.
Being pitted against teams with more experience, as some of these teams have been in this international tournament since its inception, in 2013, was a little nerve wracking for me but not to the Supergirls. All these girls wanted was to play and were looking forward to get on the pitch for some challenge.
It was time to see the fruitation of all the hard work and dedication put in by the players, team managers, coaches and parents. Time to let these girls put into practice what they have been training all these ardeous months.
It’s amazing how much these girls have matured in their game. For the past two days we have witnessed a proper footballing team. Each Supergirl played with gusto and knew how to handle her position. Most of them were determined and were focused. They had a lot more stamina too and played 22 minutes straight which is alot longer than what they are used to.
Even the coaches seemed more relaxed compared to previous tournaments. There was very little coaching whilst the girls were playing because the girls perfectly executed the coaches’ strategies. Kudos to coaches and team director for their time spent strategising.
Day 1 had been quite good. The weather was perfect; cloudy with a chance of rain but it stayed dry. Our first match took almost an hour because the lightening sirens went off twice and we were forced to evacuate the field. The girls didn’t mind this small break as it gave them some rest time and a chance for the coaches to regroup and re-strategise.
Supergirls’ first opponent, JSSL Stoney from Singapore, was a good ice breaker into the tournament and we won 1-0. The girls struggled to get their rythm especially with the interruption from the weather but Rania managed to squeeze in a side goal giving us the victory in the last couple of minutes.
The second match, against LFA also from Singapore, saw a brilliant goal by Rania at the early stages of the game and was finished off by a wonderful tap-in by Sabrina.
Day 2 was a little tougher. The sun was like ripe bright orange ball in the sky, shining ever so brightly. Our first game was against Tim Tam Tigers from Hong Kong. It was an extremely tough encounter. Our opponents were all equally larger than any of our players except Asheesh.
But with some smart planning and tactics from our coaches, we managed to hold our ground and not allow a single goal to pierce through. Tim Tam had already built a good reputation for themselves by leaving their opponents with 5 nil defeat. Brave defending got us a well deserved draw.
Next match was against Davao City Philippines. Both teams has a friendly cheer and chats before getting on to the pitch as opponents. Davao’s team JC was familiar with Supergirls’ as they met at Barcelona Soccer Camp through the Kem Bola programme.
We saw another a win towards the end of the match when Adriana scored a goal moments after entering as a substitute with a great pass from Rania.
By the time we got to our last match against JSSL Elite 2, many girls were already exhausted and having made it through to quarter finals, by being second in the table, the coaches decided to shake things up. With only Asheesh, Yasmin and Rania from the previous game. The game was won by a long range looping shot from Kanchen that was enough to beat the team.
The girls were clearly tired but are equally excited for tomorrow.