Barawa 4 Tamil Eelam 0
BY MAX HALL
Bromley FC was the venue last night not only for international football but for the opening ceremony of a global competition, as the CONIFA Paddy Power World Football Cup came to Hayes Lane.
Representatives of the 16 assorted breakaway regions, exiled populations and FIFA-excluded nations competing in the alternative World Cup paraded around the National League ground in front of a healthy smattering of curious onlookers before the action kicked off.
After a mercifully short opening ceremony that also featured traditional Tibetan singing, referee Mark Clattenburg got proceedings under way as Barawa – the port and capital city of Somalia’s south western region – brushed aside Tamil representatives Tamil Eelam 4-0.
The sides looked evenly matched until the 17th minute, when Tamil goalkeeper Umaesh Sundralingam suffered his own Loris Karius moment, shanking a straightforward clearance – under no pressure – straight to St Albans City player Solomon Sambou on the edge of the area and the Barawa playmaker steadied himself before lashing the ball into an unguarded net.
Nirunthan Sivananthan sent a sublime lob onto Barawa keeper Calvin King’s crossbar in the 28th minute and Givinthan Navangethakrishnan went close for the Tamils moments later but Barawa – tournament hosts thanks to their large London ex-pat community – doubled their lead from the spot on the half hour after Kasthuran Chelliah clumsily bundled over Shaun Lucien.
The Barawa winger calmly sent Sundralingam the wrong way from 12 yards and repeated the feat for his side’s fourth goal, nine minutes from time. That followed another rush of blood from the Tamil keeper, who roared a long way off his line and wasn’t strong enough in his lunging tackle on Walid Mahammud Hirsi who was left facing an open goal before being unceremoniously hauled down by Chelliah, the Eelam escaping with a yellow after conceding his second penalty of the match.
Between the spot-kicks, Barawa and Chelmsford City winger Gianni Crichlow had scored the goal of the game, sending a perfect lob up and over the flailing Sundralingam from the right-hand side of the area to kill the match as a contest two minutes before the break.
Tamil’s Panushanth Kulenthiran had seen his goalbound header hacked off the line with King beaten at 3-0 but Barawa could have added a fifth six minutes from time, as Crawley Town’s Aryan Tajbaksh picked out Wealdstone’s Shaquille Ismail only for the substitute’s volley to come back off the base of a post.
The tournament takes in Rotherhithe on Sunday, as Fisher FC’s St Paul’s Sports Ground hosts the game between Tamil Eelam and the US-Canadian Cascadia team – drawn from the states of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia – with kick-off at 3pm.
Bromley will host a quarter final at 6pm on Tuesday, following a final placing decider at 3pm that day and two more placement matches at 12pm and 3pm on Thursday, and Rotherhithe will host placement matches at 12pm and 3pm on Saturday, June 9.