Category Archives: Conifa World Football Cup

Game 21: Panjab 3.3 Cascadia (Conifa World Football Cup)

Game 21: Panjab 3.3 Cascadia (Conifa World Football Cup) 09.06.18

After last week’s very enjoyable games I decided to take in one of the final day fixtures. With Conifa, teams get to play in placement games after the group stages. Panjab and Cascadia had qualified for the 5/6 playoff games after losing in the quarter finals and winning the 5/8 placement games by several goals to nil. Panjab represent the Punjabi speaking population around the world while Cascadia represent the states of Oregon, Washington in the North West of the USA and British Columbia in Canada. This game was played at Fisher’s St Paul’s Sports Ground which has a clear view across towards Canary Wharf and the Docklands.

This was the second game at the ground today and kick off was delayed due to a penalty shootout between Tibet and United Koreans in Japan which saw United Koreans take 11th place in the tournament. There was a mix up with the Cascadia kit and they played the first half wearing fluorescent bibs with numbers in biro on the back to avoid a kit clash. In the second half they changed into their normal away kit with white shirts. Cascadia had some former MLS and UK based players in their team and played some good passing football. Panjab took the lead slightly against the run of play after fifteen minutes when the ball was cut back to the edge of the area and a great shot beat the Cascadia keeper. Seven minutes later and it was 2.0 when an unmarked player picked up a great through ball and shot the ball past the keeper before the defence could get back to cover. On the half hour it looked like game over for Cascadia as they conceded a third, the ball slotted past the keeper from close range. They continued to press for a goal and were unlucky to see the ball fly over the bar from a header with the keeper beaten. Moments later Panjab missed a sitter with only the keeper to beat and this was a turning point in the match. Just before half time Cascadia pulled a goal back with a header from a corner that bounced down and in.

Cascadia continued the scoring at the start of the second half. The Panjab keeper parried a shot and two Cascadia players reacted the quickest. One passed to the other who didn’t miss the empty net. On the hour the game was level. A Cascadia player picked up the ball from a great through pass and scored. They almost added a fourth two minutes later but the referee disallowed the goal for offside. Panjab got back into the game and saw several chances cleared off the line or saved. The referee blew for time at the end of an exciting match and the teams got ready for a penalty shootout. The first four penalties were saved or came off the bar. The Panjab keeper had to be alert for the second Cascadia penalty as the ball continued to roll towards the goal after his save but he did well to stop it a second time. Each of the teams scored their next three penalties so it went to sudden death. Punjab scored and their keeper saved the sixth Cascadia penalty to give them the win.

One of the best games I’ve seen in a long time and a great way to finish the season. Hopefully it won’t be long until I can get to another Conifa match.

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Game 20: Northern Cyprus 3.1 Tibet (Conifa World Football Cup)

Game 20: Northern Cyprus 3.1 Tibet (Conifa World Football Cup) 02.06.18

The second game of the day was played at Enfield Town’s Queen Elizabeth II Stadium and I made it there shortly before kick off after a half hour bus ride from Haringey. I was pleased to have bought a ticket in advance as there was a big crowd at the turnstiles which eventually led to the game starting later so everyone could get in safely. There was a lot of local Turkish support for Northern Cyprus while Tibet had drawn fans from exiles and their supporters.

Northern Cyprus were the favourites for this game and started quickly with a goal after two minutes, a shot from the edge of the area beating the Tibet keeper. They were unlucky to see the Tibet keeper make some good saves and when he was beaten, the post came to their rescue. A couple more chances were missed and the Cypriot support around me was getting concerned about the lack of goals. Just before half-time this concern became more widespread as a Tibet player dribbled down the left and hit a shot that deflected off a defender and in for the equaliser. This was Tibet’s first goal in the tournament and there were celebrations all around the ground.

Tibet came close to scoring again at the start of the half, missing an open goal. Northern Cyprus continued to press and after hitting the bar added a second goal with a great shot that gave the keeper no chance. They also continued to live dangerously and almost gave away another equaliser when the keeper gave the ball away at the edge of the area. He wasn’t punished as the Tibet player could only get a cross into the middle and there was no-one there to capitalise. By this point the Tibet players had started to tire and were suffering from cramp. Northern Cyprus made the game safe with a third goal lobbed over the Tibet keeper.

Two very enjoyable games made this a great day out in the London sunshine and I started to make plans to take in another game next Saturday.

Game 19: Szekely Land 5.0 Matabeleland (Conifa World Football Cup)

Game 19: Szekely Land 5.0 Matabeleland (Conifa World Football Cup) 02.06.18

After reading about an alternative World Cup that was taking place in London, I decided to take in games at a couple of grounds I hadn’t visited before. The Conifa World Football Cup is played every two years and features teams that represent countries, minorities, linguistic minorities or remote territories that aren’t affiliated with FIFA. This year’s event was taking place in London so I headed to Haringey Borough’s Coles Park Stadium for the early kick off between Szekely Land and Matabeleland.

Szekely Land represent an ethnic Hungarian minority in Romania and brought a loud vocal set of supporters with drums, flares and a megaphone. They had won their first game against Tuvalu 4.0 Matabeleland represent three provinces of Zimbabwe and used crowd funding online and in the stadium to meet the costs of travel and accommodation. They lost their first ever Conifa match 6.1 against one of the tournament favourites, Padania. Their supporters congregated in the main stand with dancing and songs helping to create a fantastic atmosphere.

The key moment in the first half happened after 23 minutes when the Matabeleland keeper rushed out of his area and brought down a Szekely Land player who was through on goal. This rash challenge meant a red card and a replacement keeper came on. The free kick came to nothing but shortly afterwards Szekely Land scored from a penalty when the new keeper brought one of their players down in the box. A sea of red, white and green smoke came from the celebrations on the terrace. Ten minutes later and it was 2.0 with a shot going in direct from a free kick. Shortly afterwards a breakaway saw a Szekely Land player unselfishly pass to a team mate who made it 3.0.

Matabeleland had a couple of half chances during the first forty-five minutes but lacked a killer touch in the box. They thought they had scored early in the second half but the attempt was disallowed. Moments later Szekely Land added a fourth goal with a well placed chip over the keeper. Both teams played some good football on a hot afternoon and Szekely Land wrapped up the win with a run and tap in past the keeper just before the end.