LFI U14s seal back-to-back NSL triumphs

Matt Jones - Editor 07:00 07/02/2017
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Victorious Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou coach Fred Deswarte revealed that if there is a success to the French school’s success it is there commitment to hard work.

LFI claimed back to back wins in the Emirates Islamic National School League Football Under-14 and Under-16 competitions at The Sevens on Saturday, and their head coach revealed their continued stranglehold on the competition has a lot to do with the time they have spent together.

“I don’t know if there is a secret to success but in every team, in all sports it’s coming from hard work,” he said of his his U-16 side after they beat Al Ain Juniors 6-2 in the final, having earlier watched his U-14 side retain their title with a 4-1 victory against Wellington International School.

“This generation has been working together for six years now. Training together two-three times a week for six years so maybe the secret is coming from hard work and spending time with each other.

“It’s a team with big ambitions and working well together and when we score a goal, the whole team celebrates. It means a lot to all 12 players.”

Although the U-16s have been together for a long time, the U-14s had nearly an entirely new roster for 2016/17, with sublime goalkeeper Hedi Hbaieb the heartbeat of their triumph.

Although free-flowing going forward, LFI are far from flawless defensively, but even when the back line is breached, opposing teams have to get past a particularly talented and determined last line of defence.

Hbaieb was called upon to save from Lewis Lee and Sarthak Suri in the final with LFI 3-0 ahead at half time thanks to man of the match Lyes Messaoudi’s hat-trick.

Suri netted to give Wellington a glimmer of hope but Adam Germouni restored LFI’s lead almost immediately to seal successive triumphs.

“I think the second title is better because you have to work hard and play hard, because every game is like a cup game,” added Deswarte.

“I think it was good for them to lose a game in the group stage because it showed them that one day, if we are not 100 per cent, we can lose this competition.”

LFI had come through their semi-final earlier in the day with a 1-0 win against Al Ain’s Our Own English High School, a game in which Hbaieb was again in fine form.

Wellington had gone behind to NIMS Sharjah in their last four clash but fought back with Malek Abdelnaser’s brace and one for Mahmoud Wahbeh sending them through.

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