The heavens opened during the last thrilling minutes of the football final when Estonia hosted its MTG United for Peace Cup tournament. But no rain in the world could cool down the feelings at the country’s biggest stadium Lilleküla, home to the national team, in Tallinn, when the two boys’ teams battled to become national champions.
The way to the final had been long and hard; over the whole country qualification rounds had been held in Pärnu, Järvamaa, Põlva and Tartu. Forty-eight boys’ teams from small counties, far from any leagues, had done their very best to progress to the final stages of the event. The 12-14 year old football players taking part came from all walks of life; some were from fortunate backgrounds while others were orphans. The love of football united this diverse collection of youths who, despite being intensely competitive, all made lots of new friends.
On 3 September came the chance for the winning teams from the qualification rounds – JK Perekodu, JK Järva-Jaani, Koeru JK and JK Viisu – to compare strength and see who would represent Estonia in the international finals in Oslo later on this autumn. Great anticipation was in the air during the whole day of football fun.
To keep everyone’s spirits up, plenty of competitions for the young players took place in between the matches. These included a penalty kick and a corner kick competition, where the eager participants tried to score in an empty goal – an activity that proved to be not quite as easy as it seemed.
Awards were also given out in three categories: “Best Goalkeeper” “Best Scorer” and “Favourite Player”. Harivald Künnapuu from JK Perekodu was named best goalkeeper, best scorer was Henry Roos from JK Viisu and Janno Uusmaa, also from JK Perekodu, picked up the favourite player award.
“Janno Uusmaa got the title because he was working really hard for his team, making good passes and he felt like the ’the soul’ of his team. Harivald Künnapuu made good saves and played very well with his feet too. Henry Roos was easy to choose; no one scored more goals than him!” said Kristofer Kask, Customer Relationship Specialist at Viasat and one of the organisers, with a big smile.
The tournament was filmed by TV3 and TV6 who interviewed the young players and asked them about their all time favourite players. Little did they know that amongst the gathered audience were professional footballers Tarmo Kink and Taavi Rähn, who both play for the Estonian national team. They happened to be on the premises and enjoyed watching the exciting matches.
“It’s a good feeling to run this event, it’s got a really friendly atmosphere,” added organiser Kristofer, “The feedback you get from all the happy children is great. The boys absolutely loved this event; they came up and asked why we don’t run the tournament in the winter too!”
The exciting and intense final between JK Viisu and Koeru JK ended in a 4-1 victory for JK Viisu. Which means that not only can the members of the team call themselves national champions, it’s now also up to them to defend the Estonian colours at the big international final of the MTG United for Peace Cup in Oslo on 6-9 October!
The best outcome of the day was something else, though. It was all the happy faces of the young football players making friends, sharing MSN addresses and exchanging mobile numbers. Football unites!