The Football team entered this year’s Inter International Schools tournament burdened by high expectations after winning the competition last year. With six senior players having left, the team knew it would be no easy task to defend the trophy. The squad rose to the challenge from the start of term, however, as all the players committed themselves to a rigorous training regime and played their part in some good performances in warm-up games.

The team progressed comfortably into the semi-finals, without conceding a goal. Highlights included a superb long-range strike from Simba Emonde against CIS and a morale-boosting 9-0 win against Wycherley. Lyceum awaited in the Semi-Final, hot from a 5-1 win over CIS in their quarter-final. Tough opponents brought out the best in the team, with a brilliant hat-trick by Jang Pyo Hong taking us through to the final.

The final was a repeat of last year’s contest, with tournament hosts Royal Institute desperate to avenge their defeat. A strong start helped us to take the lead, courtesy of another goal by Hong, and we held on to this lead for most of the game. Royal Institute came back hard in the second half, however, and a late goal took the game into penalties for the second year in a row. There was to be no repeat of last year’s success and Royal Institute won in sudden death on the 7th round of penalties.

The team deserves to be hugely proud of their dedication throughout the term and their great performances in the tournament. They played a beautiful passing game, confidently playing the ball out of defence and regularly opening up the opposition with lovely through balls for the strikers to run on to. The senior players in the team all led from the front, giving confidence to their less experienced colleagues. Captain Sandesh Mendis was inspirational throughout; Simba Emonde was a rock at the heart of the defence; Namhun Cho was wonderfully combative and aggressive in midfield; and Jang Pyo Hong scored in every game, including two hat-tricks.

Pool Matches: Gateway, Colombo Won 4-0 (Cho, Naveed, Hong, Sandesh)
CIS Won 2-0 (Hong, Simba)
Wycherley Won 9-0 (Hong 3, Sandesh 3, Naveed, Jin Woo, Amr)
Quarter-Final: Alethea Won 2-0 (Haren, Hong)
Semi-Final: Lyceum, Nugegoda Won 3-1 (Hong 3)
Final: Royal Institute Drew 1-1 (Hong)
(Lost 4-5 on penalties – Sandesh, Aron, Naveed, Hong)

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