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India lose out a thriller against Pakistan Shaheens

Posted on Sunday, August 13, 2017 by ARFAI,

Indian Team player Maidul Ali in action during the game

Indian Team player Maidul Ali in action during the game

The Essendon Indian team were marginally edged by the team representing Pakistan at the AFL International Cup 2017, once again a squad dominated by players from Australia of Pakistani origin.

The match took place at the Golden Square Football Club in Bendigo in very cold and windy conditions. The match was organised as part of the AFL International Cup’s ‘Community Round’, and also a result of the footy fans from Bendigo embracing India and Indian Footy players for over the last couple of years – a journey which was started by AFL and Golden Square FC Chaplain Bruce Claridge.

The match started with Pakistan taking the lead but India came back strongly. The match was intense and highly competitive as both teams were desperate to better the other. It was a see-saw battle till the last minute as the game swung both ways a number of times. Pakistan won it 4-6-30 to 3-3-21 with Abhi Kalia, Abdul Ashraf and Amar Bara scoring the three goals for India.

The Indian team put in their best throughout the match with a number of its key players out injured including the Captain Sudip Chakraborty and ace defender Pachamuthu Selvam. It was a match that could have gone either way but unfortunately for India, it went to Pakistan. There was a festive atmosphere as both teams had huge support.

There was a big turnout at Golden Sq. FC as a lot of the local Australians also showed up to witness the mega clash and cheer for both the teams. This match definitely lived up to its expectation for the Community Round.

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During AFL International Cup 2014, the Pakistan Shaheens team had dominated the Indian team completely as the entire squad comprised of Pakistanis brought up in Australia, but this time that was not the case as they had to play the few Pakistani players who had flown in from their country (AFL Pakistan) for the first time (as the team was unable to secure enough visas for their players) and the AFL had to revise the rules of the tournament to accommodate more Australia based players in the squad to let them have a full bench . The Indian boys were obviously disappointed but they were also motivated to perform even better in the next game on Tuesday against Indonesia.

A big shout out to Golden Square Football and Netball Club (GSFNC) for hosting the Indian team and being our pillar of support for the growth of Footy in India. Special thanks to Brendan Stewart, President of GSFNC who led the show and organised a fabulous atmosphere for international footy and also hosted a dinner for both the teams in the club rooms.

Thanks to our sponsors Essendon Football Club, Air India, UEC and individual supporters like Mr. Avtar Singh from Craigieburn in Melbourne,  who have helped the team Indian team to come out to Australia and put up a show. And special thanks once again to everyone from Bendigo who helped the Indian team before and during the AFL International Cup 2017.

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