Mujeeb Ahmed Mirza, Missionary, UK
The Majlis-e-Sehat UK had the honour of hosting its first Ahmadiyya International Football Tournament in London, from 11 to 14 May 2023. The tournament’s preparations began as early as January, with countries receiving their invitation letters and the formation of a dedicated management team. This team, led by Mirza Abdul Rasheed Sahib, Sadr Majlis-e-Sehat UK, worked tirelessly to ensure the tournament’s successful execution.
The tournament kicked off on 11 May with an opening ceremony and a special dinner to extend a warm welcome to all participating teams. Presiding over the ceremony was Rafiq Ahmad Hayat Sahib, Amir Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya UK. This gathering also served to decide the group formations through a draw. The tournament saw broad representation, with 12 countries and 19 teams participating, culminating in approximately 400 registered players. The names of the teams were as follows:
1. Al Furqan UK
4. Canada A
5. Canada B
6. Fazle Umar UK
8. Germany A
9. Germany B
12. Jamia Canada
13. Jamia Germany
14. Jamia UK
15. PAAMA Stars
From Friday to Saturday evening, a total of 30 group matches were conducted, followed by the commencement of the knock-out stage. This stage comprised seven matches, including the finals held on Sunday at Waverly School, adjacent to Islamabad, UK.
In order to maintain up-to-the-minute updates on fixtures and scores, the organisers utilised an online app, ensuring everyone was kept well-informed. On Friday, arrangements were made for all teams to watch the live Friday Sermon of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa and offer Jumuah, with some teams given the opportunity to offer Jumuah behind Huzooraa at Islamabad, UK. The tournament also provided players with the unique opportunity to listen to the address given by Huzooraa at the Jamia Ahmadiyya UK Convocation.
The final match was held on Sunday afternoon and broadcast live on Majlis-e-Sehat UK’s YouTube channel, courtesy of MTA International. To date, the match has garnered the attention of 9,000 viewers. The team “Germany A” emerged as the victorious winner of the tournament.
One of the most notable highlights of the tournament was the cherished opportunity for all teams to have photographs taken with the beloved Huzooraa, a session that took place after the finals at Islamabad.
The final session took place after Asr prayer at Islamabad, which brought the tournament to a conclusion.