Alighar the new Kings of Football – beat Zahira in thriller

Sri Lanka Schools All-Island A Division U20 Football Tournament 2023

Alighar the new Kings of Football - beat Zahira in thrille

It was like the ‘Thrilla in Manila’ where Zahira met Alighar at a ‘Thrilla in Suga’ to decide on who would bag the crown of Kings of Football in the Sri Lankan Schools circuit. Alighar National School proved resilience and determination to pull off a famous win to clinch their maiden top division football title in the history of the Batticaloa school.

Alighar National School Eravur defeated the traditional giants of Schools football, Zahira College Colombo in a thrilling 5-4 (on penalties) at the much anticipated finals of the Sri Lanka Schools All-Island A-Division Under-20 Tournament played at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Monday (11).

The game was played after many delays and postponements due to the inclement weather conditions in the last few months across the island. This encounter too had all the drama when the match was stopped just minutes after kick-off on Sunday (10) evening which was the original fixed date for the finals.

Amidst a huge crowd from both sides the match got underway with heavy showers pouring into Colombo city. Later the officials deemed it unsafe for play as thunder and lightning struck the surrounding areas. Hence the game was rescheduled for the next morning.

After all the regularities were sorted the match played on Monday (11) morning, ended in a thrilling 0-0 draw at the final whistle. And like most of the crucial World Football Finals, this game too was decided on penalties. It was the lads from the Eastern Province, the only non-Colombo / non-Western Province team, Alighar National School from Eravur, Batticaloa who clinched the all-important title 5-4 on penalties. Zahira’s second attempt at goal was missed and that was the game-changer.

Alighar National School lads in their quest to the championship glory beat St. Henry’s College, Jaffna in an annihilating 5-0 win in the quarter-finals and in the semis they got the better of the much fancied tournament favourites and last year’s champions St. Joseph’s College Colombo 2-0 to defy all odds and write their name in gold in the annals of Sri Lankan Schools Football History.

Furthermore in the consolation finals (3rd place), Darussalam College Colombo beat the favourites on paper, St. Joseph’s College in a thumping 5-2 victory. B.M.M. Suhaib scoring 2 goals in the game became the highest goal-scorer in the tourney. This is Darussalam’s first major title whilst playing their maiden “A” Division Tournament in the Under-20 category.

Now after the conclusion of this tournament in the Under-20 category schools will divert their attention towards the already ongoing Under-18 All Island Schools Championship where many close tussles are underway with 20 top schoolboy teams across the island vie for the title in 04 groups.