ISE host Mekong River International School Football Tournament

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Eight International Schools from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand gathered February 10-13 at the International School Eastern Seaboard for the 2011 Mekong River International Schools Association (MRISA) High School Football Tournament. 

MRISA tournaments provide opportunities for students from different schools in the region to come together, play sport and make new friends.  Participants enjoy safe, organized and competitive matches while developing friendships and improving their skills and appreciation of sport.

ISE players and coaches pose for a group photo.ISE players and coaches pose for a group photo.

The eight MRISA schools are United Nations International School of Hanoi (UNIS), Hanoi International School (HIS), International School of Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC), Saigon South International School (SSIS), International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP), Northbridge International School of Cambodia (NISC Cambodia) Vientiane International School (VIS) and International School Eastern Seaboard (Thailand).

The tournament at ISE saw 160 boys and girls from 37 different countries playing 40 matches over the course of the weekend.  The MRISA format is 7-a-side with round robin group games on Friday and knockout cup and plate matches on the Saturday.

Penalty joy for the ISE boys team as they reach the final.Penalty joy for the ISE boys team as they reach the final.

The ISE boys’ team got off to a flying start with back to back 2-0 wins over NISC and SSIS.  So, 2 goals from team captain Tilmann, one from Marcelo and one from Alex proved enough to put ISE atop of group B despite a 5-1 loss to UNIS in the final group game.  It should be noted that Ta’s thunderbolt goal for ISE was perhaps one of the goals of the tournament.

Saigon’s ISHCMC finished top of group A with defending champions ISPP coming second and so facing old rivals ISE in Saturday’s cup semi-final.

In the girls’ tournament, the ISE girls had mixed fortunes as a 3-1 defeat to SSIS was followed by a 7-0 win over HIS, before a 6-0 loss to an outstanding ISPP team confined the home team to the plate event.  Hat-tricks for Elisabeth and Kanari plus a goal from Callie were some consolation for the girls’ team.  UNIS and ISHCMC were the top 2 teams in the other girls group.

International School Eastern Seaboard (ISE) girls’ team take on Saigon South International School (SSIS) in one of the opening fixtures.International School Eastern Seaboard (ISE) girls’ team take on Saigon South International School (SSIS) in one of the opening fixtures.

The ISE girls hit form on Saturday, as goals from Elisabeth (2), Andreia, Kanari and Callie gave them a 5-0 win over a spirited and popular MRISA United team.  Captain Andreia’s left foot strike was especially memorable.  Elisabeth then struck her 6th goal of the tournament in the plate final against VIS and so secured the plate trophy for the host school.

The Girls Championship was deservedly won by the amazing  ISPP team whose  4-0 win over UNIS in the final gave them a record of P 5, W 5, GF 35, GA 0 – Staggering!

The boys semi-final between hosts ISE and defending champions ISPP became the game of the tournament, as an end to end match left the teams locked on 1-1 after golden goal extra time.

So to penalties, where 3 amazing saves from ISE keeper Alec and 3 goals from 5 attempts (Tilmann, Kengo and goalkeeper Alec) gave Marcelo the chance to strike the winning sudden death penalty.

The final brought an ISE / UNIS rematch. as UNIS had beaten Vietnamese rivals ISHCMC 2-1 in the other semi.  The ISE boys fought hard, but without the injured Ta found this one game too many and so lost 2-0 to the deserving champions UNIS, Hanoi.  The ISE boys team should be proud of their achievement in giving the host school fans so much enjoyment and excitement throughout the weekend.

A feature of MRISA tournaments is the wonderful sportsmanship on display. This year the sportsmanship awards deservedly went to ISPP boys for their dignity in facing not one, but two agonizing penalty shoot out defeats, and to the MRISA United Girls team for the spirit and desire they showed in playing against such well trained and skilful opposition.

Once again this MRISA tournament highlighted all that is good in sport and proved to be a true festival of football and friendship.  MRISA football will return to ISE same time next year for the 2012 Middle School Championships.

For more on ISE visit   http://www.ise.th/ or for more on the tournament go to the tournament blog http://mrisaise. wordpress.com/about/