Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Tamil Eelam Women runners up in historic first CONIFA world cup

Tamil Eelam faced off against Sapmi in a thrilling final which saw the defending champions retain the trophy with a 2-1 win. 

The final was played at the home ground of FK Bodø/Glimt, the Aspmyra Stadium. The city of Bodø was chosen as the city to host the CONIFA WWFC2024. Tamil Eelam were participating in their first CONIFA Women’s World Cup with an energetic team chosen from players across the diaspora. The route to the final had seen the team score 3 goals and had now brought them up against current holders Sapmi. 

Prior to kick-off, both teams took a minute’s silence to remember the lives lost in the Tamil Genocide, the Tamil Eelam team dedicated the final to those killed in the Mullaivaikkal Massacres and the Tamil Genocide.

Tamil Eelam kicked off the match with the high intensity of the game being apparent from the first minute. Sapmi were able to get two shots early on goal but Tamil Eelam keeper Sara comfortably saved both. Sapmi looked to hold possession but were unable to break through Tamil Eelam’s midfield, forcing play to the wings in which the Eelam Tamil full-backs had the pace advantage over their opponents. The game continued at this level with Sapmi holding possession and switching play attempting to break through Tamil Eelam’s defence.

Though as Tamil Eelam absorbed pressure, they were quick to counter at points, the first sign of this attacking threat was evident with Rahavi. Picking up the ball deep in midfield after dispossessing Sapmi, she skilfully dribbled passed two players before cutting their defence in half with a pass which Dilaxsika was running onto, the threat had forced the Sapmi keeper to come off her line clearing the ball out for a throw-in.

Tamil Eelam now looking comfortable on the ball and holding possession in the opposition half began to string more passes together.

Ovia from midfield, picked out Dilaxsika who controlled the ball and found Preethi in three touches. Preethi composed with three Sapmi players surrounding her returned the pass on her first touch to Dilaxsika, who had run past the Sapmi centre-back. 30 yards out Dilaxsika picked up the ball, a Sapmi defender on her shoulder, one touch then a shot. Tamil Eelam 1 – 0 Sapmi.

Dilaxsika picked out a lofted shot over the Sapmi keeper who was off her line, although the keeper had got a touch on the ball, the ball flew straight into the net. Elation as the Tamil Eelam players celebrated the goal together as a team.

Sapmi to take kick-off and they were quick to apply pressure getting a shot off from the edge of the box, though the composed keeper Sara was able to save the looping shot. Minutes later Sara made another sensational save from a half-volley after a quickly taken Sapmi corner. Two crucial saves kept the lead for Tamil Eelam.

Though it the not last time the star keeper would be called into action, minutes before the first half drew to a close, Sapmi striker number 18 was through on goal. She shot but Sara was quick to get down saving the ball with her right foot. Sapmi were pushing for an equaliser but the first half ended with the guests leading by one goal against the hosts.

Sapmi started the second half with intensity, but Tamil Eelam did well to absorb the pressure, though Sapmi was beginning to look more threatening in their attacks. As Tamil Eelam pushed on some counters, Sapmi had adopted a more physical approach to the game. 68 minutes, a free kick for Sapmi near the corner flag. The ball was crossed into the box, Tamil Eelam did well to clear it from the box only for it to fall for Sapmi number 5 who struck it from the edge. Crossbar. The ball bounced off from the crossbar landing in the path of a Tamil Eelam defender, a Sapmi player behind her, the defender clears her line, and the whistle blows, penalty.

On replay the Tamil Eelam defender had been barged in the back by the Sapmi player and as the ball bounced it struck her hand. A soft penalty to give. Though Sapmi were sure to take their chance at the 72th minute. Tamil Eelam 1 – 1 Sapmi.

The game was tense, the final 10 minutes saw both teams attacking on goal. Sapmi were to take a corner in the 85th minute. The ball crossed in the box, saw their striker rise and head the ball towards goal. Sapmi had taken the lead with 5 minutes left of the game. Though Tamil Eelam was quick to restart, still running, still pushing for the equaliser. As the minutes ticked past 90, the referee blew the whistle marking the end of the final. Tamil Eelam 1 – 2 Sapmi.

Together for the nation, the young team made a lasting impression in this World Cup. To reach the final is their first attempt, set the scene for more to come. A team that fought hard, this final will not be the last.

Karoline Fosli (Sapmi), Join Top scorer - 4 goals  Dilaxsika S (Tamil Eelam) - Tournament MVP   Eva-Alida Eliasson (Sapmi) - Joint Top scorer - 4 goals


 Match photos by Nicholas Noreng.

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.