In the annual Northern Provincial Interschool Sports Festival Mahajana College, Thellipplai girls won the U20 Girls’ Football Championship.
Football matches kicked off on 15th and were played for four continuous days at various locations such as Jaffna Duraiyappa Stadium, St. Patrick’s College grounds, St. John’s College grounds, Ariyalai Football Training Institute and Kanagaratnam M.M.V grounds.
Girls’ Final (U20)
In the final, debutants Pandatharippu Girls’ College took the challenge to the mighty favourites Thellippalai Mahajana College. The latter were the defending champions and are considered to be a strong force in girls’ football in the Northern Province over the years.
In the semi-finals, the defending champions secured a resounding 5-0 win against Kanagarayankulam Maha Vidyalayam. The runners up last season, Sivanagar G.T.M. School, shockingly lost their semifinal to the debutants Pandatharippu Girls College in a similar fashion to the first semifinal – 5 goals to nil.
Hence, both teams were full of confidence as they were entering into the final despite leaps of difference in experience. The coach of Mahajana College for 2014/15 season is the current coach of Pandatharippu Girls’. The direct rivalry invited a lot of speculation and expectation to the final.
Mahajana College started the game very strong. Their national level players had no difficulties in setting up the pace as Gowri scored the first goal within the very early minutes of the game. The second goal immediately followed when Shanu brilliantly caught the keeper off her line with a magnificent effort from the center of the pitch. Her shot was perfectly weighed and right on target.
The defending champions had a two goal lead within 10 minutes of play. The opposition slowly started to grow into the game and stopped the chances created by Sureka and Tharmika.
In the second half, Pandartharippu girls Kirushanthini and captain Niroshika had their efforts well covered by Mathushaa. The ball was mostly kept in midfield. Shanu and Niroshika had a chance each at either ends later on in the game but no goals were scored. At the final whistle, Mahajana College once again clinched the title. This is their 4th year running (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017) as champions of the tournament.
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Baskaran Shanu
Goal Scorers – Surenthiran Gowri, Baskaran Shanu
3rd Place Match
For the bronze medal podium finish, Sivanagar G.T.M. School girls faced Kanagarayan M.M.V. girls. In this highly competitive fixture. Sivanagar girls created the majority of the chances but they couldn’t convert any of them. All three goals they put in were ruled offside by the linesmen. Similar story emerged at the other end as well where Kanagarayan girls too failed to turn the chances into goals. At the end of full time, no team has broken the deadlock.
Therefore, penalty shootout was held to decide the winner. Sivanagar girls came out victorious after scoring three of the five allotted chances compared to Kanagarayan’s two. Sivanagar G.T.M. School finished third this year.
This tournament evidently shuttered the false myth that women football isn’t as emerging as men football in the northern part of the country. These girls set themselves very high benchmarks and achieved them. Quality football was on display and some great talents were showcased.
If the tournament proved one thing, it would have been that the contributions and support from parents, teachers, coaches and school authorities would definitely see these girls rising in the national arena.