Team AIG (Anjuna International Group) emerged the proud winners of the GCO Football Tournament organized by the Goan Community of Oman on 13th November 2009, edging out Saligao Sporting in an exciting final played at the Oman Club grounds, Al Khuwair.
The tournament opened with a colourful march past by all the participating teams. It was a grand spectacle organized by the tournament committee, in a real professional manner. The sportsman prayer was read by master Noel Vas. The “Beach Boys” was adjudged the best dressed team. The tournament was officially declared open by Flynn de Lima, GCO President by releasing balloons along with the chief guest, Brahmanand Shankwalkar, ex Indian team captain and goalkeeper.
During the league matches, there were major upsets: Favourites like Navelim and CBD boys made early exits. AIG defeated the Beach Boys and FC Siolim in the semis via the tie breaker, while Saligao trounced St. Anne’s and then beat the fancied Black n white Kerala team in the semis, also via the tie breaker. The highlight of the tournament was a fine hatrick by Savio of Saligao against St. Anne’s.
In the evening a tie-breaker tournament for ladies was held, which along with the tug-of-war for women and men, elicited much excitement. Many spot prizes, sponsored by Nawras, were given throughout the day. Brahmanand shared some tips with budding footballers and met each of the participating teams in their respective tents. The band “Cross Connections” kept the crowd in a dancing mood with great music during the evening break.
The finals was a see-saw battle between AIG and Saligao, with both teams exhibiting great soccer with Noel Fernandes as the referee. The game had to be finally decided via a tie-breaker, which went into the second set. Moin of AIG was declared best player of the finals while Sibon Soares of FC Siolim won the player of the tournament award. The best goalkeeper of the tournament was awarded to Azad of B&W Kerala, while the best upcoming player went to Ryan of CBD Boys. Chinchinim won the best disciplined team.
There was a large turnout of Goans, all of whom were in a festive mood. The guests for the finals and prize-distribution ceremony included Brahmanand Shankwalkar, Arjuna Awardee, Flynn de Lima, Celso Fernandes, Dr. Mario de Souza, Baltazar Fernandes and others GCO managing committee members. Brahmanand Shankwalkar was presented with a memento on behalf of the GCO. During the vote of thanks, Mr. Anthony Lourence appreciated the leadership taken by Dominic Fernandes in organizing this tournament and the support extended by other GCO football enthusiasts. He thanked the sponsors Profab/Vanguard, Pepsi, Majan Hotel, Talentz, Techrock Muna Noor, Michael and Selwyn.
The next day Brahmanand held sessions with young aspiring football players of the Indian Schools, Muscat and Al Ghubra. He answered their queries and gave them tips and advice about football. Brahmanand, who himself played for Salgaocar in the club championships in Muscat in 1990, was delighted to be back in Muscat after 20 years, and thanked the organizers for their support.
GCO SPORTS COORDINATOR
Goan Community of Oman