Valencia wants Heena as coach

Club Valencia are hoping to sign Ismail Asif, popularly known as “Kuda Heena”, as their coach for the next season.

Kuda Heena, who spent the best days of his playing career at Valencia, is currently the technical director of All Youth Linkage, AYL.

According to Haveeru, Kuda Heena is choosing not to stay with AYL due to financial issues.

Haveeru reported that AYL has failed to pay Heena and many other players.

After an illustrious playing career spanning 15 years, Heena went on to start his coaching career.


Mohamed Umair signs for VB

VB Sports continued strengthening its squad for next season by acquiring Victory captain Mohamed Umair.

Umair, who plays in defence has been playing his trade at Victory for the last four years.

According to Haveru, Umair said “You might think this change is because of a salary issue, but it is not. If that was the case I would not have been with the club (Victory) this year. I just felt like a change”

The new contract with VB is for one year.

Umair has been the third player to leave Victory recently for VB, the other two being goalkeeper Imran Mohamed and striker Assad Ali.


Decade of red ends for Imran

After nine long years spent being the custodian in goal for club Victory, keeper Imran Mohamed has signed on with the VB Sports Club.

There were many reasons for his decision but Imran told Haveeru he did not wish to discuss them.

“I signed a one year deal with VB, and after nine years at the club you don’t just change, there has to be a reason,” he hinted.

Starting his career at Club Eagles, Imran joined Victory in 2001. Over the last nine years Imran has won many trophies with Victory, including this year’s FA cup.

Imrans new club VB Sports will compete in next years AFC cup, which is almost the equivalent of Europe’s Europa cup. Imran and his new team will begin training tomorrow.

According to Haveeru, CEO of VB Sports Gahuthaan Haleem said that there are four other players to be signed in the forthcoming week.


Under 23’s begin preparation for SAFF games

The Maldivian under 23 football squad has started training for the upcoming SAFF games in Bangladesh.

The team is currently being looked after by the assistant coach for the Maldivian national team. He is in charge until head coach István Urbányi returns from a short trip back to Hungary.

According to the rules, only players born after the 1st January 1987 are allowed to participate. However, three senior members are allowed in the team – these three have yet to be announced.


3rd division match to be replayed

A football game between the Police and MNDF clubs in the national 3rd  division will be replayed due to referee error.

MNDF won the match 1-0 on 14 December. However referee Ahmed Ameez was found to be in the wrong when he ordered the retaking of a penalty that was put away by the Police Club. Even after the second attempt was put away he judged it to be a foul and gave MNDF club a free kick.

According to Haveeru, the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) issued a statement saying that according to FIFA laws the match must be replayed, and said action would be taken against Ameez.

There has been no date scheduled for the replay, while the three points awarded to the MNDF have now been removed.


Maldives narrowly defeated by India in penalty shootout

The Maldives national team was narrowly beaten by India in the SAFF Cup Final following a nail-biting 3-1 penalty showdown.

The streets of Male were deserted as the match began, with locals cramming teashops and restaurants. Those left on the streets gathered around TVs on street corners brought out by residents, or went to the main action at Lonuziyaaraikolhu where a large screen had been set up under the stars.

Young Maldivians dressed in red to support their team
Young Maldivians dressed in red to support their team

India was kept on the defensive throughout the match and during extra time, holding the score at 0-0 despite numerous close calls and several injured players. Indian goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya weathered a brutal onslaught in the final minutes of the second half as the Maldivians ran rings around the bedraggled Indian defenders. But despite the perpetual pressure the team just couldn’t get the ball past Bhattacharya, who must have felt like he was playing a particularly vindictive game of Dodge Ball.

Tension mounted during the TVM broadcast’s pause for prayer in the first half of extra time, but nothing was scored during the break sparking a nervous sigh of relief from some in the crowd.

Crowds cram a shop trying to glimpse the game
Crowds cram a shop trying to glimpse the game

The audience was on their feet by the time of the penalty shoot-out, excited and nervous in equal measure. Jibon Singh’s opening goal was returned by Fazeel Ibrahim, but Thoriq missed in the second round while India’s Denzil Franco hit the back of the net. Both Nirmal Chettri and Mukhuthar missed in the third, but Subodh Kumar scored in the fourth and Ali Ashfag failed to make up the point, giving the match to India by the narrowest of possible margins.

Disheartened, the crowd gathered in Lonuziyaaraikolhu quickly melted away leaving nearby stallholders equally dispirited.

The few Indians in the crowd cautiously celebrated. “Do you still love my country?” one Maldivian teenager asked a group of spectating foreigners, worriedly, while a convoy of red-decked motorbikes set off to lap Boduthakurufaanu Magu, honking their horns somewhat half-heartedly.

Maldivian women and their children by the bright red sea wall
Maldivian women and their children by the bright red sea wall

It was a saddening picture compared to the uproarious celebrations that could have been triggered by a mere gust of wind during the Maldivians’ many attempts in the closing moments to creep the ball past the line. But in the end, India’s ironclad goal defence – and more than a little luck – saw them scrape through to their third SAFF victory in four years.