Twenty-six teams made it to the next round of the soccer tournament Hindustan Times Great Indian Football Action (GIFA) at the end of a tough day’s action on Saturday.
With the tournament at the halfway stage, the additional day witnessed some nerve-wracking 90 minutes as some terrific teams battled it out in the knock-out stage.
The crowd was exuberant, even proving a match for the atmosphere at some of the ISL matches. Parents and other football enthusiasts got behind their favourite teams, cheering every good dribble and jeering every bad tackle.
“My son is a part of one of the junior teams. Apart from allowing us to enjoy the game together as a family, it has also showed me the potential in my son,” said Neetu Jaggi, mother of one of the players.
Eyeing the GIFA trophy, players from both categories of teams -- above 13 and below 13 years -- took to the pitch with zeal, their captains often leading by example.
“The players are looking forward to their next match and are confident that they will win with a better goal difference. GIFA has already done wonders for several players with some of them being selected for training with the state team. We have added an extra day in Gurgaon with a view to provide a chance to the teams to take a better shot at the finals,” Ashu Phakey, business head Delhi-NCR of Hindustan Times, said.
The matches concluded late evening with some stunning goals from both the junior and senior teams.
At the end of the day, the teams that were at the losing end waited eagerly to find whether they made the wild card entry to the next round. Hopes were high as all the teams expected to play the final day.
The teams that have made it to the next round are gearing up for matches scheduled for early morning and evening on Saturday.