The Berner Estate pitch hosted the Play4Burma Tournament, organized by Human Relief Foundation to raise awareness and much needed funds to support the atrocities committed upon the Rohingya people in Burma.
The Rohingya are recognised by the UN as one of the most persecuted minorities on the planet.
The tournament draw had been made by Shadwell Councillor, Harun Miah on 16th November 2012.
Twelve teams took part and the participants were fortunate that rain stopped before kickoff and stayed that way for the rest of the day. There was even a burst of sunlight late in the afternoon.
The day was managed by tournament Coordinators and HRF staff Khoyrul Shaheed & Muhammad Haque. They were ably supported by a volunteer crew comprising of but not limited to: Zoinul Abidin, Shah Mahmud, Abdul Hamid, Lokuj Jaman, and Ibrahim Faruqi.
|"We all know that football unites where other mediums fail. Many have braved the cold weather and sacrificed their time to make this event a great success. It has been inspiring to see how young people have put their differences aside, to play football with great camaraderie and raise awareness of a major humanitarian issue."|
There was a tense shootout in the semis as London Tigers were seen off by the Brick Lane Gutt Boyz, who then defeated Rakhine Rangers 2-0 in the final. The Man of the Tournament award went to Gutt Boyz' playmaker Shakil Rahman.
The wining captain said: "Gutt Boyz are very happy to have won this special tournament. We have played away and have loved the support we have received from the home supporters. We will be back to defend our trophy next time."
"Were disappointed but proud to have progressed to the final of this great tournament," said losing captain Abdul Hamid of Rakhine Rangers.
Khoyrul Shaheed, HRF staff member said: "I have been so impressed with the unity, togetherness and amity amongst players, fans and officials.
"All participants have been a credit to our community and I am humbled to be a part of such a great occasion.
His colleague Muhammad Haque added: "I would like to thank the volunteers, fans, HRF staff, players and officials.
"Play4Burma has galvanised the community and HRF will continue to organise events like this every year.”
Football Community for Humanity
Zoinul Abidin, Captain of RLB FC, an all star family lineup said: "We all know that football unites where other mediums fail. Many have braved the cold weather and sacrificed their time to make this event a great success. It has been inspiring to see how young people have put their differences aside, to play football with great camaraderie and raise awareness of a major humanitarian issue."
Hasan Mueenuddin, the HRF London Regional Manager described the tournament as: "An excellent display of solidarity by the football community towards the displaced people of Burma"
Rongu Miah, Captain of Walford House team said: "On behalf of myself and my team, I would like to congratulate HRF on all their efforts and hard work on Saturday.
"We hope this will go some way towards the great cause which you held the event for."
Final Referee Emdad Rahman described his refereeing of the final as “a great honor and a moment to savor."
Related Links:Rohingya Muslims...An Open Wound
Suu Kyi and the Rohingya: a Heroine No More
‘Open Prison’ for Rohingya Muslims
Save Rohingya Muslims: The OIC