Posted on January 17, 2017

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) clinched the title win of the second edition of Aspire Banks Football Tournament (ABFT) held at the Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) indoor pitch on Monday after defeating Masraf Al Rayan (MAR) by a single goal.

QIB managed to score early at the beginning of the finale from a dazzling counter attack leaving MAR perplexed for the remainder of the first half. MAR tried hard to get back into the game but their efforts were thwarted by QIB's goalkeeper. Meanwhile, Qatar Central Bank (QCB) managed to secure third place at the expense of Doha Bank (DB) after a tough match that ended with the final score of 2-1. QCB dominated the game from the very beginning with an early goal. In the second half, DB scored the equalizer near the end of the second half; however, QCB scored a sudden death goal during the last two minutes to demolish DB’s ambitions for the bronze medal.

ABFT, a successful partnership between AZF and QCB

Commenting on the success of ABFT’s second edition, Abdullah Al-Khater, Events Manager at AZF, said: “I would like to congratulate QIB for their well-deserved win today and I also extend my congratulations to the winners of individual awards. This year’s edition of the tournament has been remarkably improved, and next year we promise to deliver another interesting edition to football fans”.

QCB's Assistant Head of Financial and Administrative Affairs, Jassim Al-Baker, said: “I would like to thank AZF for the successful organisation of AFBT in response to the demands of several banks to expand previous tournaments held in Ramadan 2014. AZF has developed the tournament greatly to reach this level. This activity provides our employees with an excellent physical exercise to complement our busy work lives. The event is also a perfect place to network and strengthen relations among our employees and with other banks. QCB and AZF have a shared goal that is to encourage our employees to adopt a healthy lifestyle and increase their physical activity.”

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Official representation from AZF and QCB on the closing ceremony

The closing ceremony witnessed the awarding of top three places in addition to the Best Scorer Award: split between Wael Sherif from QCB and Muhammad Obidat, MAR; Best Coach Award: Muhammad Eissa, QCB; Best Goalkeeper Award: Mami Sheikh, QIB; Best Administrator Award: Essam Dishari, MAR; Most Valuable Player Award: Abdallah Abbas, Qatar Commercial Bank; and Fair Play Award: Al-Mashreq team. Top three teams gathered afterwards to receive their medals from AZF and QCB officials headed by Abdullah Al-Khater, Jassim Al-Baker as well as Hussain Al Qahtani, Lolwa Al-Marri, Al Anoud Al-Misnad from AZF.

QIB hands QCB and AZF awards

In parallel, QIB’s Chief Strategy Officer, Constantinos Dinos, and Abdulahadi Mubarak Al-Shahwani, Executive Director of Administrative Affairs, awarded AZF and QCB's representatives accolades as a gesture of appreciation for the successful organisation of the tournament.

Impressions from winners

Mami Sheikh, QIB, the winner of Best Goalkeeper Award: “We fought hard throughout the tournament. Last year we came in third place. Today we celebrate winning the title thanks to team efforts and good planning for each game.” Muhammad Al-Hashimi, QIB team captain: “I would really like to thank AZF for this wonderful tournament. The friendly atmosphere was very encouraging and it was a perfect way to get to know colleagues and peers in the industry."

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AFBT in numbers

Qualifying rounds saw 12 teams comprising of 216 players in two groups: QCB, Standard Chartered Bank, Doha Bank, Commercial Bank, IBQ, Barwa Bank, QNB, Mashreq Bank, QIB, Al Rayan Bank, Ahli Bank, and QIIB. AFBT witnessed 38 matches played in 30 hours with the support of 20 staff. 255 goals were scored throughout the tournament. 67 referees were assigned to run the matches and showed 14 red cards and 43 yellow cards to the players.

AFBT, Background Information

AFBT was organised by AZF in partnership with QCB for the second year in a row. The idea for the tournament came from the Ramadan Sports Festival in 2015 which included a dedicated tournament for bank employees. Over the past two years, AFBT became one of the main events on AZF calendar for the winter sports season.