NAIS Manila U8 Football Team claimed the RIFA 2019 Championship trophy for the Under 8s Division.
Rizal Football Association (RIFA) is the longest standing football organization in Manila and has a proud history of providing competitive football competitions for all the top local and international schools within Manila.
Before finals day, the U8 team played 18 qualifying matches spread across three Saturday’s of football festivals. This season is the first time NAIS Manila had entered the tournament, so to notch up wins during qualifying against some of the well established schools within the competition certainly raised a few eyebrows.
As the team stepped out for their first finals match last 23rd February 2019, the NAIS Manila U8 Football Team had already achieved a great deal by qualifying as the third highest ranked team from across Manila. Coach Airene, had spent a lot of time working with the team in preparation for the finals, with regular after school Tuesday and Thursday training sessions, as well as extra Saturday morning sessions
The journey to the championship title was far from easy, during the quarter finals, after 8 minutes NAIS Manila were 2-0 down to a strong Xavier B Team. However, Nickel scored to offer hope and make it 2-1 to Xavier.
With little time remaining and facing elimination from the finals day, Patrick scored a fantastic equalizer to draw the teams level. This resulted in a dreaded ‘first to three’ penalty shoot-out. NAIS Manila kept their nerve by slotting home when it mattered and won the shoot-out 3-2 to proceed to the semi-finals.
ADMU School were waiting in the semi-finals. The game was intense against a very well drilled and talented opposition but after the thrilling climax to their quarter final win, NAIS Manila were fired up from the start and eager to book a place in the championship game. Both teams were very evenly matched but with few minutes remaining stepped up to secure a 1-0 victory.
The championship game was against one of the pre-tournament favourites Southridge A. After a superb display of passing and working together as a team, Patrick netted at the far post to put NAIS Manila 1-0 up in the final. However, the opposition pulled their way back into the game and equalized to make it 1-1 going into the final 5 minutes.
It was at this point that the school’s ‘Be Ambitious’ philosophy really shone through as the whole squad dug deep to find that extra gear. From a free-kick just outside the penalty area, Patrick gave it his all to score a sensational goal to send the team and supportive parents on the side line into celebration as the final whistle was blown just minutes after the goal.
At such an early age, the students winning the tournament was a great achievement, but the most important gain is the invaluable experience from playing as a team and facing their challenges.
To Kazuki, Pancho, Pablo, Piotr, Nickel, Steven, Prince, Patrick, Adrian and Taisei , very well done boys.
My congratulations and thanks to Coach Airene, the NAIS Manila P.E. teaching staff and to all parents and family.
Head of P.E.