12 February 2017: JNU hosted the inter-institution sevens football match where 12 institutions from in and around Delhi came together on 12-02-17 at the university stadium to revive their enthusiasm for the sport. Delhi University vanquished Aligarh Muslim University in the finals in the shoot-out to lift the trophy. FIFA Development Officer for Asia Region Shaji Prabhakaran handed over the trophies and awards. The tournament named as ‘Halqa Cup’ was being organized for the second time to keep up the spirit of football in the capital. Only Malayali players were allowed to play.
The tournament had twelve teams, FC JMI, IIIS Okhla (both from Jamia Millia Islamia), AIIMS FC, AIIMS Seniors, Tuskers FC JNU, Club De DU, Bathinda FC (Punjab University), Hamdard FC, FC AMUMA (Aligarh Muslim University), Delfox FC (Amity University), MAMC (Maulana Azad Medical College) and Media FC (a team of Malayali journalists in Delhi). The match affirmed the football fraternity of Malayalis while lots of people attended the match to cheer up and support their respective teams.
The home team manged to find a berth in the semis but lost to AMU 0-1
DU had AMU reached the finals, however both teams could not score in the full time and the match was extended to shoot out. DU got the advantage of having a better goalkeeper and they snatched the win from AMU. DU had defeated Bathinda FC in semi final for 1-0 and AMU defeated the hosts Tuskers JNU for the same score.
Eight teams had to play primary knock-out round to reach the quarterfinals while four lucky teams got direct entry. In quarter finals, JNU defeated Hamdard for 1-0, Bathinda defeated MAMC for 1-0, DU won against AIIMS Seniors in penalty shoot-out for 3-2 and AMU defeated Media FC for 1-0.
DU was the defending champions since they won the first Halqa cup last year and they retained the glory. The prize money was Rupees 10000 for the winners and 5000 for the runners up. Bathinda won the fair play award worth Rupees 2000. Faisal from AMUMA was selected for the ‘Best player award’ for his memorable performance throughout the tournament and DU’s captain Nidal was selected as ‘Best Goalkeeper’ for his thrilling saves.
Noushad from JNU received the award for the best goal but it caused controversy after allegations raised that he did not deserve the award while others had scored better goals. The spectators told ‘The Informer’ that Bathinda’s Babu’s goal was spectacular and amazing but he was denied the award.
On Sunday, the match started by 9.00 AM in the morning. Every match had two halves of 10 minutes and final match had 15 minutes in each half. Since it was sevens, the court was too small and a temporary post was arranged by the organisers. The demand by JNU students to get a new sevens post has not come true even after five months.
The organisers had arranged a makeshift canteen in the stadium to avail food for the players and supporters. Delicious lunch with rice, sambar, upperi and pappadam was provided.
Iqbal Vavad (MPhil, CSSS) works for The Informer. Pictures are by Sunaina Dular (PhD, SIS).