Sunday 13th October, Pondicherry wakes up with a light sun, after a rainy night. The first training sessions at CITY 5 are a bit ruined by these puddles on the field. It is tournament day ! The team activates to be ready on time ! Brooms, squeegees, every tool is necessary. 9:30 AM, the first teams arrive. Pressure goes up, the staff has been preparing it for 3 weeks. Everything has to be lit ! The sun is stronger, heat starts to be felt. More than 15 teams are expected. A good performance for us, there is nothing for it but to organise the day in good conditions.
The group stages are cut out. One session in the morning, one in the afternoon. From the beginning, spectators are spoiled. Self sacrifice, tactics, technique, collective, nice shoots, good saves, the teams are quality. At the CAFE, favourites are analysing the performance of potential outsiders. Less technical teams rely on their aggressiveness and their defense to counterattack. CITY 5 Junior is unfortunately out of the league despite of a good match against Liverpool FC. The youthful errors are paid dearly.
After a short break for lunch, the second session starts straightaway. CITY 5 Senior comes on, all the eyes are focused on them, cameras are switched on, they will be scrutinized. After 2 serene matches, the qualification for quarter finals is gained as well as WOGA FC that destroyed its opponents.
The final phase is tenser, it is a knockout match, no mistake is allowed, CITY 5 has to play safe and collective. In front, Waves FC has nothing to lose, just be relaxed and go for broke. As expected, the match is tight, CITY 5 leads but Waves has not said its final word. CITY 5 makes a strategic substitution, with Selai replacing Pavi for more strength in the attack and to bold the lines. Rewarding strategy, CITY 5 is qualified.
Way to semi-finals: CITY 5 faces the outsider CCK, that showed a good team spirit during the previous stages and that dreams to defeat the National Champion 2019. Our team is a bit disorganized and disturbed by the injury of our star player Colas and has to remotivate quickly. After 3 minutes of game, a unfortunate handball leads to a confused action and a goal for the away team. Panick captures CITY 5′ supporters but the tactic remains the same. At half-time, we are worried. What to do? Should we make changes? We don’t have any substitutes. What about the positions on the field? Let’s play and see. CITY 5 puts more pressure, the team is cut in two, it smells like KO. Two minutes left, indirect strike for us, Selai attends it, in the wall, the ball goes the other way of the field in the corner, the CCK player is faster, takes the ball and shoots. 2-0: astonishment ! The champion is going out… the reduction of the score is futile, CITY 5 is eliminated at the gates of the final. Congratulations to CCK !
In the other semi-final, Kuppuraj FC, our eternal enemy is defeated by WOGA FC. The final is sparkling even with decimated stands, spectators disappointed by our elimination. WOGA wins the title with safety and rigour, they deserve it ! The prize giving is friendly, teams are fair play and take pictures together, people are satisfied by the organization. WOGA leaves with a cash prize of 8000 rupees, a great reward for a team that dominated the tournament from the beginning to the end. CITY 5, weakened by injuries, was simply not up to it !