By Liam Moakes 27/06 Updated: 28/06 10:45
REAL West Brom have been crowned the new champions of the Redditch Gaza Appeal 6-a-side Football Tournament.
They made up for the disappointments of finishing third in 2010 and 2011 by defeating 2009 and 2011 champions Coventry Hamas 2-1 in the final of the football extravaganza at Redditch Cricket, Hockey & Rugby Club on June 17.
More importantly though, a superb figure of £1,137 was raised from the fourth staging of the event and will be donated to UK registered charity Ummah Welfare Trust and its Special Hardship Scheme.
This initiative works on the ground in Gaza and helps rebuild the lives of families by helping build homes for them and providing clean water, clothing, medical supplies and clean sanitation.
Since the event began in 2009, it has now raised over £4,800 for the people of Gaza, who have suffered for over 60 years due to the war between Israel and Palestine.
The tournament featured 18 teams who travelled from all over the Midlands to compete and it was Rayhan Miah's Real West Brom who emerged victorious.
Coventry Hamas, who were led by their experienced and twice winning captain Haroon Mota, were looking to take home their third Redditch Gaza Appeal crown.
The final promised to be a match of contrasting styles, as Hamas' discipline and organisation was tested against West Brom's flair and patience.
Real West Brom, led by their influential captain and player of the tournament Abdar Rahman Alkash, woud have found victory over Hamas even sweeter as Hamas knocked them out on penalties in the 2011 semi-finals.
In this year's final Hamas, who were missing their talismanic striker Shahid Franklin due to injury, fell behind early on through a great run and shot from Real West Brom's man of the match Stefan Samuels.
However, Richard Roundtree's fine solo effort hauled Hamas level by half time but Real West Brom always looked like they had another goal in them, especially with tournament top goalscorer Chris Brown - who bagged eight overall - in their ranks.
However, it was not Brown who was the hero for once as, with only a minute remaining, West Brom's marauding defender Osama Abdorab pounced to smash the ball home past Hamas keeper Suleman Mota, who before this final had not conceded a goal in this tournament dating back to 2010.
This run of 16 matches without conceding was finally halted and along with it Hamas' were consigned to runners-up spot.
Earlier on Redditch-based teams Call the Copz, managed by Majid Ali, and Vatos Locos FC, managed by Umer Khan, will have been disappointed with their final tournament positions.
Call the Copz, fielding possibly their strongest team since their first entry in 2009, were knocked out for the second year running at the semi-final stage, but this year by eventual champions Real West Brom in what was a scintillating match.
Call the Copz' strike pairing of Nick Briggs and James Gifford were guilty of missing an array of chances that came their way in the penultimate match, but there were no such problems in front of goal for Real West Brom though, as Samuels put them in front with a long range shot which led to an error from the otherwise unflappable Ali Khan in goal.
With Ghulam Nawaz hitting the crossbar with a rasping drive and both Briggs and Gifford failing to find the net, Call the Copz could have been forgiven if they started to believe luck was not on their side and their exit was confirmed when Brown found the net with a cool finish to make it 2-0.
Vatos Locos FC, who had looked strong throughout the group stages with consistent performances, looked to be growing in confidence after every game, but were unluckily knocked out on penalties in an epic quarter-final against against Suleman Vania's Cov Boyz after their leading scorer and captain Leigh Bell was denied by the crossbar from the penalty spot and Wayne Mckenzie also missed his penalty.
Cov Boyz progressed to finish in third place after beating Call the Copz 1-0 in the third place play-off.
Smokin Aces of Redditch were knocked out 2-0 by Real West Brom at the quarter-final stage, with Brown again the hero with both goals.
Oakly Road Posse could not progress through the group stages as both Naheed Khan and Mohammed Ibrar missed crucial penalties in the qualification process in what was an exciting end to fixtures in their group.
The head spokesman for the tournament said: "It was a superb event and we know the money raised will make a huge difference in Gaza, to help people to rebuild their lives and have the tools in place for them to try and rebuild their homes and families.
"The tournament's reputation has grown massively since 2009 and it is very pleasing to see people from all backgrounds gather to participate and support this great cause.
"It would have been nice to see a team from Redditch finally win the tournament, but in the end Real West Brom were very worthy winners and really deserve their champions crown.
"I would like to thank all my fellow organisers who help every year without fail, including generous sponsors Gorilla Productions Media, Tint Ur Ride Redditch, Star Taxis, K&N Autos, Impact Trophies & Merchandising and Caspian Pizza.
"We would also like to say a very big thank you to everybody at Redditch, Cricket, Hockey & Rugby Club, who allow us to organise the event at their facility, Liam Moakes at the Redditch Standard for helping promote this event, Trinity High School & Sixth Form Centre for offering us a Plan B at very short notice in case the rain runied our plans for this year, Pete Lopeman Photography, Wayne Beard from Redditch Borough Council and Will, Justin and Pete, the three officials who officiated this year's event.
"That's not forgetting all those who participated, spectated and donated towards the event."
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