NEIL Adrakar with pallbearers carry the casket of his father, Parveen Adrakar to his final resting place.

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History made during 1997 FANCA

Opinions / Analysis

FANCA 2022 marks the 25th year anniversary of the event.


The tournament at Prince Charles Park will coincide with the silver jubilee celebrations.

The first edition of FANCA was held in Vancouver, Canada in 1997.

And besides the 2020 tournament, which was cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic, the biennial sporting extravaganza has become the much-anticipated event for the FANCA nations, fans and has a huge following.

Host/ FANCA name


British Columbia Muslim Sports Association president late Chris Khan stepped away from vetting process and declared Canada was ready to host the next tournament.

And it was during the first congress, while a tournament name was deliberated, late Azad Khan arbitrarily named what FANCA is today.

He gave prominence to the acronym FANCA, as with Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America, as permanent nations.

Later the constitution was ratified by the board.

Leading men

The khans’ were the two key figures who oversaw the host nation live up to its billing as ‘Beautiful British Columbia’ label, while welcoming its footballing guests.

Under the chairmanship of Azad, the 1997 event was best organized on record.

Widely known to be a perfectionist, his working committee and the inner circles were detailed of the expectation.

A cluster of old and new hands on the deck worked every detail ahead of the event, and the stage was set for the arrival of the teams.

Canada ready

There is Vancouver bias, for which we make no apology.

Sit back and reminisce.

Games village, transportation, eateries, and entertainment was all in place and like no other.

Welcome

Vancouver welcomed the FANCA nation.

The host delegates received every team with a glowing heart.

Housing

Every team was transferred to the game’s village, at the B.C Muslim School, which was the home for teams for the duration of the tournament.

Food

All the teams were provided breakfast and dinner.

Transportation

All the teams were provided rides to and from the game’s venues, Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park and Queens Park Arena.

Opening ceremony

The FANCA nations was welcomed at the Town Centre Park for the grand opening.


Before thousands of delighted and enthralled spectators inside the stadium, the flag bearing nations made the grand entry.


Coquitlam City mayor Lou Sekora officially declared the tournament open, as host country Canada welcomed the nations to the incredible 3 days of football fiesta.

First game


Hosts Canada took on the might of Fiji, with former national captain Abdul Mannan leading a star-studded team.


With Samir Ali, Feroz Khalil, Saiyad Ali, Arif Azam, Imtiaz Khan and other district representatives, Fiji found it a battle on skill, guile, and style.


In a stunning fashion Canada outplayed Fiji in every facet of the game, with Mohammed Yusuf, Sunny Ali, Asuad Ali, Naushad Khan, Taufiq Khan, Afroz Khan, Abdul Aziz (Dadu), Bobby Ali, Neil Adrakar, Patrick Jr. and Shameel Shariff, Fiji was made to look ordinary.

Historic first goal

Abdul Aziz (Dadu) scored the first goal of the inaugural FANCA tournament.


The aggressive central defender followed up on a good midfield buildup before finding space to fire the game winner against Fiji.


Aziz is remembered for his calm and composure under pressure.

Generosity

After the Day 1 match and having seen every nation but Fiji with team kits, ardent football fans, Nur Ali and Mohammed Hakik out of good heart outfitted Fiji team and officials with a set.


Fiji team officials while receiving the kit thanked the donors on behalf of the players and Fiji Muslim Sports Association.

Games tense moment

The Canada- USA game was the ‘battle for the titans.


The reigning Fiji Muslim Sports Association’s 1985 golden jubilee winner, where they upset Rewa 2-1 to win the final, came into the tournament head held high and ready to replicate its supremacy.


But Canada fresh off Fiji's win, the team was on demolition mode, with brisk touches and style obliterated USA 4-0 at the Queens Park Arena.


The embarrassment had tweaked the USA as a skirmish had broken out, cooler heads prevailed, and the match continued.

Top teams for final

Canada and Fiji locked horns again in the grand finale, with yet another seat to the rafter crowd.


Fiji was ready for the final, Canada never felt intimidated.


Canada had early possession and took the game to Fiji.


But as the summer heart intensified Fiji settled in, captain Mannan led the team redeemed itself with a hard fought 2-1 win for championship.


Fiji forward Iqbal khan’s second half brace was the difference, though Canada’s Bobby Ali got a consolation goal.

Closing ceremony

The sublime spectacle of the closing ceremony was the embraces and few tears.


And while Fiji celebrated the historic FANCA win, fans, players, and coaches took solace in the 3-day tournament, relishing on the good times and made memories.


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