Eydhafushi Lift Baa Football Challenge Cup Sponsored by Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

Baa’s first community football tournament a resounding success
July 29, 2019,
Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, Republic of Maldives

Eydhafushi have been crowned champions of the first ever Baa Football Challenge, beating a determined Goidhoo side 6-1 at the Eydhafushi Stadium on July 20, 2019.

The final was covered by YES TV (PSM) and watched by a live crowd of around 700 spectators including Minister of Tourism Mr Ali Waheed; President of Baa Atoll Council Mr Mabrook Naseer; and former Maldives National team players Mr Ali Shiham and Mr Mohamed Arif (Bakaa).

Eydhafushi won three of their group ties to secure a place in the semi-finals against Kihaadhoo, beating them 5-1, while Goidhoo won three of their four games in the run up to the final, scoring 12 against Maalhos to reach the semi-finals.

In-form Goidhoo started the final very positively and were the first to score, but despite some great football from both teams, Eydhafushi proved too strong and made their home advantage count.

Commenting on his team’s overall win, Eydhafushi’s Captain Mohamed Fasir, said: “We set out in the final to learn from all the mistakes of previous matches and just play the best we could. We were fortunate to have the advantage of playing at our home ground but our team is young and enthusiastic and we’re very grateful that this win will help to support their development even further.”

Initiated and sponsored by Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru to strengthen the bond between the 13 islands of Baa, the Baa Football Challenge – the country’s biggest resort-organised football event – saw a total of 11 teams battle it out in 18 games across 18 days, scoring a total of 92 goals and delighting an estimated total of 5,000 in-stadium supporters.

The atmospheric closing ceremony saw additional tournament awards presented to: Best Defender – Razzan Rasheed (Eydhafushi); Best Midfielder – Shahee Moosa (Eydhafushi); Best Forward – Adam Nizam (Goidhoo); Best Keeper – Ali Ajfan Amjad (Eydhafushi); Best Coach – Shafy Ali (Eydhafushi); Best Player Under 21 – Ali Naseem (Eydhafushi); and Fair Play Team – Kendhoo.

The Player of the Tournament, Mohamed Fasir (Eydhafushi), was also awarded the Golden Boot, having scored 10 goals (narrowly beating Goidhoo’s Adam Nazir, who also scored 10, but in a slightly longer period of time). Eydhafushi’s Ali Naseem was the third top goal scorer of the tournament with a total of 7.

The tournament ended with Mr Waheed, Minister of Tourism, and Armando Kraenzlin, Regional Vice President of Four Seasons Resorts Maldives, unfurling a banner – “See You In 2020” – confirming the return of the Challenge next year.

“We set out with the intention of using football to explore and expand community relations, yet we have ended up with so much more,” said Kraenzlin, “It has been a month of incredible talent, sportsmanship and bonding that has not only brought Baa Atoll closer but has given a national platform to our incredible footballers and community spirit. My congratulations not only to Eydhafushi, Goidhoo, and all the individual award winners, but to every single member of the 11 participating teams for their contribution to this fantastic event.”

And the football wasn’t the only community connections being celebrated in Baa. In honour of PADI Women’s Dive Day, also held on July 20, 2019, women from the Dive, Marine Savers and Manta Trust teams at Four Seasons introduced local female swimming teachers from the island of Eydhafushi to the magic world of diving. Community spirit is strong in Baa!