St. Henry’s College, Ilavalai and Zahira College will meet in the semi-final of the Kotmale U19 Schools’ Football Championship in what is sure to be another riveting encounter at the Durayappah Stadium in Jaffna. takes look at the big clash.

Battle of the Titans

A colossal clash of the Titans sees the old foes setting up a date to rekindle their tale, as last year’s finalists from the Kotmale U19 Championship Zahira College will meet St. Henry’s College at St. Henry’s hunting ground in one of the semifinals this year.

It was St. Henry’s who ran away victorious 3-1 in Colombo to grab the Championship in the 2015 edition.

Both teams share a staggering group stage record; they’ve demolished all their opponents en-route to the quarterfinals with Zahira having the highest goal scoring tally in the group phase (39 goals) closely followed by St. Henry’s (30 goals).

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Along with a prolific goal scoring record, neither team have had jitters at the back with St. Henry’s being joint top in terms of the least number of goals conceded alongside their northern rivals St. Patrick’s College (3 goals).

Zahira College is not too far away as they’ve only conceded one more than their antagonists in defense.

The quarter finals proved nothing different for either outfit as they steamrolled past their opponents with the lads from Maradana thumping four past their adversaries (De Mazenod College) whilst St. Henry’s managed a commanding clean sheet against Maris Stella College, Negombo while putting two past them.

Key match-ups

Anthony Ramesh v Farood Faiz

Undoubtedly the midfield dominance is what has orchestrated the significant stature of both these sides in this year’s competition.

Industry, control and an abundance of creativity is what both Anthony Ramesh and Farood Faiz are gifted with as they sit at the heart of all offensive moves directing traffic.

Both young men have styles of their own as they’ve shone in their trade.

Anthony Ramesh has an ‘Iniesta’ like touch to him as he seems to have all the time in the world when he calls his shots with a wand of a left foot. He has an element of elegance about him even in the most bullish surroundings which gives you a notion of the ability and the composure he possess.

Farood Faiz has a completely different approach to the game with aggression and extravagance which is the complete contrast to Anthony Ramesh.

Consistently running the channels from midfield Farood offers the services of a goal scoring number 10 with his ruthless eye for goal despite being labeled a midfielder.

The stats and figures paint a palpable picture as it’s evident that both these young men should fire on all cylinders on the day for their respective teams for them to conquer their foes.

Mohomed Shaheel v Jude Suman

Defensively both teams have an outstanding record.

Credit should be given to both Mohomed Shaheel and Jude Suman from Zahira College, Colombo and St. Henry’s College, Jaffna respectively who’ve marshaled their troops.

Rich with ample amount of experience gained at the national level and various other competitions, both these men will be key in stage-managing their semifinal escapade come the 3rd of November.

Both men possess an aura of leadership as they take the initiative in dismantling opponents with their rich gifts of pace and power.

Moreover, both have established themselves as ball playing center backs as it provides an upper hand to both sides as their contribution in offense hands them a significant edge over opponents.

Tactical brilliance

Mohamed Roomy is the master mind behind Zahira College’s tactical brilliance. He’s isn’t a coach who simply plays to his strength but also strategically outplays and disassembles any opponent thrown his way.

However it is fair to say that neither of the teams have been tested thus far leading up to this semifinal.

Every opponent who St. Henry’s and Zahira College have faced respectively have been a league apart with the superiority both teams possess as none of them managed to push these giants to break a sweat against them.

This semifinal will be the ultimate test of tactics as much as ability and character as Mohamed Roomy aims to pull a rabbit out of the hat against a relentless St. Henry’s setup ready for the kill in their own backyard.