Our Junior Varsity football team participated in a CMAC tournament at PREM International School on the 4th of November. A total of 9 different school teams took part, which had to go through a group stage to progress to the knockout stage.
The day was long. The group stage alone consisted of 3 games of 50 minutes each and on top of that, the sun was shining on the grass pitch. Our team was considered an underdog at the start, having lost some of our recent friendlies and having far younger players compared to the other teams.
But the CDSC Lions did not hide. On the contrary, no matter the opponent, they took every duel on and played courageously forward. And so it happened that in the first group match against the host team, PREM, they were able to claim their first 3 points thanks to a fabulous free kick goal by our “ball artist” John (Gr. 7). In the second group match, we faced the Lanna International School Thailand’s team, against whom our Lions suffered their first defeat of the tournament. Nevertheless, the boys fought until the last minute and what impressed us most was that they never once grumbled at each other, put each other down or blamed each other. The team chemistry was right. In the third and final group match, CDSC had to face Varee Chiang Mai International School, who they had lost 6-1 to in their last friendly match. At this point, the Lions lacked a single point to enter the semi-finals. A draw would have been enough. But our team confidently created numerous chances and after an outstanding pass from our centre-back Tobias (Gr. 10), our top striker Levi (Gr. 10) converted to make it 1-0. Varee, however, was unimpressed and equalised with a cracker goal from 20 metres. Then our playmaker Nüng (Gr. 8) thought, “I can do that too”, and in the last minute of the game, he sent the Lions into the semi-finals with a free-kick goal from almost 20 metres too.
In the semi-finals, we met the first-placed team from the second group, Grace International School. This was a game dominated by our Lions from the first minute, pressuring their opponents to the limits until Nüng (Gr. 8) scored the winning goal in the penalty area to send the Lions into the final. At this point, the team had played a total of 200 minutes of football in the blazing sun, and so cramps and other aches and pains started to be felt by our players. As a result, some players had to sit out and simply lacked the physical strength for the final. In addition, they met their opponent from the group phase, against whom they had lost. Our team would end up losing the final, but nevertheless, they gave everything and fought until the last minute.
What we liked most was the way the team achieved second place. If there had been a fair play award, CDSC would have won it, and that makes us very happy. We are a small school, we have few footballers, but the ones we have are good.
All in all, as underdogs, the team produced a lion-strong performance and more than deserved 2nd place.
Miguel Morais and Adem Akduman