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Tamil Eelam beat Yorkshire in CONIFA World Football Cup qualifier

The Tamil Eelam football team managed to secure victory over Yorkshire last month, in a pulsating encounter at Ingfield Stadium in Ossett. 

The tight contest saw Tamil Eelam go ahead thanks to Thomas A, with a cross by Nirun from the left flank met by his surging run and finished off with a sliding right-footed shot. Tamil Eelam doubled their lead with a second half finish into the bottom left corner by Prashanth R, who was making his tenth appearance and scored his seventh goal for Tamil Eelam. Yorkshire scored a well worked goal in the latter stages of the game and pressed on as they searched for an equaliser. However, the Tamil Eelam defence held on and went on to take another win, as the team continues to grow.

Manager Ragesh Nambiar praised Tamil Eelam’s amazing team spirit but admits his side have to improve defensively to ensure more victories.

The Tamil Eelam attack continued to look dangerous, especially on the counter-offensive with Prashanth R, Nirunthan S, Kirushan C - another debutant, combining effectively up front. Both Thomas and his twin brother Julian, live in Norway and play for Finnsnes FC. They made their debuts against Yorkshire, Thomas played at the centre midfield position and came off at half-time for Mayooran C. Mayooran, who made his debut in 2014, has since matured into a reliable member of the squad. Julian played a great game at left back, added Nambiar, a performance that earned him the man of the match award for Tamil Eelam.

The youthful squad saw a host of other players made their debuts too, including Steven S, who at the base of midfield, looked sharp and made vital interceptions. He was effective at retaining possession and linked up the defence and midfield well, said Tamil Eelam’s manager. 

Panushanth K, playing in centre mid alongside Steven and Thomas captained the team, and had a great first half, controlling the tempo of Tamil Eelam’s play. He was substituted in the second half for Senthuran U. A young and versatile player from France, he showed great promise in training, which continued with the time he was on the pitch. 

Nirunthan S played a vital role up front, showing great footwork and close control to keep possession as well as start attacks. Kirushan and Prashanth used the flanks effectively and worried the Yorkshire defence with their speed and dribbling ability.

Thomas T and Keerthihan K at the heart of the defence as well as Sivaruban S at right back were well organised and committed in their challenges. Both full backs, Sivaruban and Julian provided width and speed in attack. Praveen A, who was a composed presence in goal, was effective with his distribution and dealt with Yorkshire’s aerial threat superbly. Majuran P came on for Kirushan and was tasked to double up with Sivaruban and stem the flow of attacks from Yorkshire’s left flank. 

Akash J, who played in goal for Tamil Eelam against Raetia in 2017, and Kieshor K are young players from Switzerland who were unused substitutes, yet will have gained invaluable experiences training with the Tamil Eelam squad as they look to force they way into the first team in the next few years. Janothan P, also an unused substitute remains another important member of the Tamil Eelam squad having made his debut in 2016 at the Unity Cup hosted by the Tamil Eelam Football Association. A midfielder with great passing ability and composure on the ball, he is an experienced player having played in the 2018 CONIFA World Championship too.   

“We played a great game and created plenty of goal scoring opportunities,” said Nambiar thanking the Yorkshire International Football Association and fans from both sides. “We were organised and our players knew their roles despite limited training. We need to be more clinical and manage the tempo better as Yorkshire managed to create chances too. A lack of urgency and intensity to close down the Yorkshire players in our half and in the latter stages of the game was evident. We need to learn from this game and play better in our next game.”

All photographs courtesy of Mark Parsons Photography.