INTERNATIONAL YOUTH TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS!
After an incredible week of competitive international football the boys from Gippsland have returned home with their Melbourne teammates as the undefeated Champions of the Great Wall Of Beijing Cup.
Jacob Richardson, Tommy Nguyen, Ashley Ross and Orin Giesbers all from Sale, Ty Georgiou from Moe and Gianni Salvatore from Morwell all had a cultural and football experience they will never forget.
The Footskills Australia team were ‘bumped up’ into the U18 section of the tournament instead of playing u17s and grasped the opportunity to play top level football against International teams.
The first game was at a frantic pace with the big boys from China pushing the Footskills Australian side to the final whistle. Goalkeeper, Jacob Richardson, came up against one of the best players in the tournament when he found himself facing a penalty kick. Keeping his composure he sensed the player would go right and with his arm outstretched he dived to the right pulling off a great save. The game ended 2-2. Goalscorers were Kenan Akalan and Suji Moham.
Russia was the next opponent and after being 4-0 up at halftime the Footskills players seemed to drop their intensity and the game slowed. Russia took advantage and for the first ten minutes into the second half they put away two quick goals. This livened up the team from Australia and they pounced into action controlling the game from then on. Richardson once again found himself facing a penalty kick and with a quick step to the right he dived to the left but unfortunately could only get his fingertips to the ball and it toppled over the line. Footskills completed a quick counterattack and slammed the ball into the back of the net. Final score 5-3 to the Aussies. Goalscorers were Tommy Nguyen, Nabil Mozzafarradin, Suji Moham (penalty) and Kenan Akalan, 2.
Game three turned into a one sided affair with the Footskills team taking control from kick off. The team from Japan were on the back foot from the first whistle. Coach, Ian Williamson took the time to get set plays and team work into action. The game ended 5-2. Goalscorers were Tommy Nguyen, 3, Setmir Zijai and Ty Georgiou.
After finishing top of their group, Footskills were to come up against Beijing in the first Semi-final, who have played tough all tournament. In a battle of end-to-end football the game was a crowd pleaser as both teams fought hard to win the ball. Footskills Australia proved all their hard work for the past four months was paying off as they won 1-0. Goalscorer was Kenan Akalan.
The Final turned into a very physical encounter between the two teams invited from Australia. Bowen Academy u18s were using their larger physical bodies as part of their tactics but Footskills u17s went about the game with skill, teamwork and determination. Towards the end of the match a Bowen player was red carded for punching the Footskills Captain, Suji Mohan, twice in the head. But the game was already won with Footskills easily winning the Great Wall of Beijing Cup 4-1. Goalscorers were Suji Moham (penalty), Kenan Akalan, Tommy Nguyen and Setmir Zijai.
After the final the boys went and watched Manchester City defeat Arsenal 2-0 at the Birds Nest Stadium. The boys took on the sights throughout the week visiting the Great Wall, Tienamen Square and the Forbidden City.
Each player from Footskills Australia received gold medals and a huge trophy, with Tommy Nguyen receiving an extra surprise when he was named as player of the tournament.
Final Placings U18
1st Footskills Australia
2nd Australia Bowen Academy
3rd Beijing FC
4th Guangxi China
5th TSU Japan
6th Yali MS Changsha China
7th Tokai University Kofu Japan
8th Selenga FC Russia
Zicco Soccer Brazil won the u15 section and China won the u12 section of the tournament.