ABU DHABI // Hosts Al Yasmina School celebrated a double success in yesterday's Abu Dhabi District Under 11 football tournament with both the boys and girls teams getting their hands on a trophy.
But the boys had to make do with a share of the spoils after a tense goalless final against impressive rivals The British School Al Khubairat (BSAK), while the girls only just squeezed out Cambridge High School on goal difference having conceded one less in their league format.
Over 150 players competed not only against each other but also the conditions as the matches started in the afternoon of one of the hottest days of the year so far.
And given that the boys had suffered through three group games, a quarter-final and then a semi-final, it was deemed only fair and right that the trophy was shared at the end of the 0-0 as there were a few weary legs on the pitch at the whistle.
However, David Munro, a star player of Al Yasmina on the day, was ready for more agony. He said: "I wanted the game to go to penalties, although I think we would have lost."
While Leo Foord-Kekey, the British School playmaker, said: "I wanted to see us play extra time so there would be a winner."
Both comments were entirely sincere which shows how seriously this was taken.
Al Yasmina and BSAK entered two teams to the boys' eight-a-side competition, with Al Muna Primary, the British International School of Abu Dhabi and Cambridge High School also taking part.
BSAK, Cambridge, Al Muna and Al Yasmina with two teams made up the girls seven-a-side league tournament. All matches lasted 10 minutes with no half time.
Matt Morris, the head of physical education at Al Yasmina, said this sort of tournament was now held several times during the year, although this was the biggest so far, with the hope even more schools will take part in the future.
He said: "It was a fantastic day. There was so much enthusiasm out there in really hot conditions. I poked my head into the boys changing room after a couple of games and the guys were dead. They gave everything.
"The most impressive thing for me was the girls. The turnout for them was magnificent. We had five teams, two from our school, and each squad had at least 10 players. I can't believe you would have so many players for an Under 11 girl's football tournament in the UAE.
"When you consider there was no Under 11 or Under Nine league a few years ago, it's a huge step forward. We have constant running leagues and big tournaments, which get bigger every time.
"Al Jazira supports our leagues with sponsorship, and a lot of the children become mascots and the club have really taken charge of the leagues this year. That has been a great help for us."
The competition for secondary school pupils takes place today at Al Yasmina with matches starting at 3.30pm.