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CIFE football tournament

Posted by: Roy Ashman - 27 March 2024 - Activities & Sports - Read time: 3 minutes

The day began as we gathered outside the college at 6.30am for the long coach journey to Oxford City’s football ground, hoping to bring home the trophy for the annual CIFE football tournament.

Sixteen teams from across London, Cambridge, Oxford and Birmingham took part in this seven aside competition. The tournament began with a group stage followed by a knockout stage. Games were twenty minutes long and came in quick succession. We started with a game against Oxford Sixth Form. Early nerves showed and we conceded an early goal, but Malakhai equalised soon after. Minutes later, Malakhai showed his quality again and put the team in front. Despite some solid defending we could not see out the game and Oxford scored a late equaliser to share the points.

In our second we faced Ashbourne College. In the first half, Chuck used his strength to turn and score from just outside the area to put us in front. Some fine defending and good game management meant we kept a clean sheet and secured the win. Worthgate School were up next. They brought a direct style and took an early lead. Despite some great individual moments from MPW, Worthgate’s momentum and clinical finishing allowed them to open up a 3-0 lead after half time. The team did not stop trying, and kept pushing for a way back into the game. Chuck again managed to find the net with another demonstration of his strength in front of goal.

Our fourth game was against our sister college, MPW Cambridge. We changed tactics for this one which paid off straight away. Malakhai was in lethal form throughout the tournament and scored twice in this game to give us a 2-0 lead. Cambridge did not give up and did manage to find a way back, levelling the scores at 2-2, but Cassius cut inside and found the net in the final minutes to give us the three points.

We knew at this point we had qualified for the knockout stages of the tournament and so decided to rotate the squad for our final group game against Guildhouse School. A touch of fatigue showed on our side and Guildhouse took advantage, winning 3-0.

Onto the quarter finals and we faced our other sister college, MPW Birmingham, who won their group stage and were in strong form. We began the game brightly, with some sharp passing and one touch football setting up Malakhai to fire us into the lead. Some resolute defending into the second half preserved the lead, but MPW Birmingham did not stop pressing. Tired legs allowed space to open up in the second half, and Birmingham capitalised, managing to equalise after a goal mouth scramble. After a frantic last few minutes, there was nothing between the teams and the game went to penalties. Despite some fine saves from goalkeeper Oscar, the lottery of the shoot-out did not go our way and we lost 4-3.

Despite not reaching the semi-finals, the team demonstrated character and resilience to make it to the knockout stage and put up a strong performance. Across the day, every member of the team deserves recognition for their contribution. While we did not manage to lift the trophy, the players did themselves and the college proud.

The MPW London Football Team were: Kemal Eksi, Cassius Queva, Malakhai McKenzie, Aaron, Lucas, Tom King, Oscar Russell, Georgy Orlov, Chuck Okonkwo, Samuel Cordiner, Aaron Mamane, Lucas Amos.