|The stadium falls silent for Student Uprising Day (Manavar Eluchi Naal), before kick-off between Tamil Eelam and Zanzibar (Pictures: GTYL)
After impressing the public with a strong display against Raetia, Tamil Eelam’s national team went on to face tournament favourites Zanzibar today at the Franso Hariri Stadium in Erbil. After a brave and disciplined fight against one of the tournament favourites, Tamil Eelam lost 3:0.
After the national anthems were played, the teams lined up around the centre circle and the stadium stood still, as a minute’s silence was observed to mark Student Uprising Day (Manavar Eluchi Naal).
The day is marked to remember the life of Pon. Sivakumaran on the 38th anniversary of his death and other students across the world who gave their lives in struggles against oppression.
|Tamil Eelam Captain Jana Sadacharalingam presents the captain of Zanzibar with the Tamil national flag
Zanzibar attacked strongly from the onset but the Tamil Eelam defence line was holding them back and put up a fierce resistance, however Tamil Eelam did have their chances with the Zanzibar keeper forced to make a few saves.
Zanzibar scored in the 18th minute after a shot from just inside the box, in the 59th minute and in injury time.
Zanzibar’s Team, which is made up of 11 professional footballers, pressured Tamil Eelam greatly throughout the match, but struggled to create clear cut chances due to the excellent defensive display by Tamil Eelam.
The Zanzibar captain praised Tamil Eelam for being very good and showing great team spirit, while another player described them as a ‘hard working team’.
Goalkeeper Ananth was rated as “excellent” by the Zanzibar team due to several saves he made and was named Man of the Match for Tamil Eelam by captain, Jana Sadacharalingam.
Ananth praised his teams fighting spirit and commended the whole teams performance.
“We can be very proud of today’s performance, as we made life difficult for a team that is made up of professionals and held against them for long periods of the match. Even though they play in a different class to us, we made them work really hard to score each of their goals.”
Due to the strong display by the team, Tamil Eelam is now ranked 54th in the non-FIFA rankings, which has a total of 66 teams.
Once again the result of the game did nothing to tarnish the unwavering support from Team Tamil Eelam’s fans, who were again present in the stadium and also glued to the team’s Twitter and Facebook feeds around the world, for updates on the match. The Facebook fan page now has over 2,300 followers and has had its content viewed by over 100,000 people.
On Twitter followers were encouraged to create awareness using #TamilEelam. Unfortunately, Tamil Eelam FA’s Twitter page was stalled for the closing part of the match after having reached the maximum tweet limit for the day!
Some touching tributes were made by fans in the form of motivational songs on Youtube, using montages of clips and photos of the team as a backdrop, while tweets and Facebook messages kept streaming in.
Tomorrow Tamil Eelam will play their last game against Occitania, which is the first game of two, to decide Tamil Eelam’s ranking at the end of the tournament.