The win saw NIMS establish themselves as the early frontrunners in Sharjah, although there were also victories for India International School Sharjah and Wesgreen International School. NIMS’ defenders played a crucial role in the rout at The Sevens, limiting their opponents to a handful of attempts which were all kept at bay by goalkeeper Yousuf Habib.
Nimble frontman Mohammad Shafiq Taj earned Man-of-the-Match plaudits after netting a hattrick, while there was also a treble for Abdulrahman Hassan, and a brace from Abdullah Ejaz.
“I may be small but I had the courage to face my opponents and they were not able to contain me,” the diminutive but talented 13-year-old Taj said. “I got my confidence from my team-mates and I was ably supported on the pitch by Abdulrahman.”
The impressive attacking duo shared five goals in the first half as Alhamriyah were brushed aside before the break. Both also combined to create Ejaz’s two goals.
“An 8-0 win on opening week is definitely a good start which bodes well for our campaign this year,” said NIMS coach, Selvaraj Krishnan. “The most pleasing aspect of a commanding win is to boost the confidence of our boys. We hope to improve on our performance from last year where we bowed out of the tournament at the first round of the knockout stages.”
It was a bad day at the office for Alhamriyah who also tasted defeat in their second match, a 3-1 loss to India International School, with Mohammed Raihan leading his side to victory. Alhamriyah found themselves 2-0 down at the interval but pulled a goal back in the opening minutes of the second half to make things interesting. But Raihan deftly curled in a beauty to make it 3-1 and cap the victory.
IIS suffered a 1-0 defeat in their second match though, as Zain Juman netted for Wesgreen.
NIMS’ fortunes changed in the U-16 section as they fell to narrow 1-0 and 2-0 defeats to Delhi Private School (DPS) Sharjah and Alkamal American School respectively.
Alkamal made good use of their size advantage to dominate NIMS and stroll to a 2-0 triumph. Abdulaziz Alblooshi was their hero with both goals but playmaker Ali Rashid was the catalyst as he set up his team-mate for both strikes, while midfield general Shamseldeen Alaashi was named Man of the Match.
Alkamal followed up their opening win with a 5-0 victory against Springdale Indian School. Hassan Fallous led the way with a hat-trick while Eisa Ibrahim and Abdulaziz Sulaiman also found the net.
It was a game of two penalties in the other contest involving NIMS. Tanisq Kumar was the scorer for DPS in a 1-0 win, converting a second-half penalty, while NIMS’ Mohammed Ismail hit the post with his effort in the game’s final seconds.
DPS topped the Sharjah group stages last year but coach Kutty Mammedutty said most of his players are new to the team and they are still finding their rhythm. They earned a 1-1 draw in their second match against NSL newcomers English School of Kalba to go second in the table behind Alkamal.