Football played in memory of Mohammed

Some of the teams that took part in HIO's annual football tournament
Some of the teams that took part in HIO's annual football tournament

ALEXANDRA Park served up a feast of football as more than a dozen teams competed in the annual six-a-side tournament hosted by Hastings Intercultural Organisation (HIO).

The event kicked off in 2007 and since 2008 has been held in memory of Mohammed Al-Majed, the Qatari student who tragically died in Hastings after being assaulted in the street in August that year.

The tournament reflects HIO’s goal of bringing people together of all races and backgrounds, and it was in this spirit that the matches were played.

At the end of the league stage of the event Group A was topped by Glavin Rangers and the police team of Sussex Finest, while the top two teams in Group B were the Bengali Cubs and AFC Hastings. These sides competed in two hard-fought semi-finals, with AFC Hastings beating Sussex Finest 4 - 2, and Glavin Rangers losing out by the same score-line to the Bengali Cubs.

In the final the Bengali Cubs looked the team most likely to score early on and struck the post in the first few minutes. It wasn’t until a mix-up in the AFC Hastings defence though that they took the lead.

The Cubs could easily have doubled their lead soon after when a blistering shot hit both posts.

AFC Hastings had a shout for a penalty towards the end but their hand-ball claims were dismissed by the referee. Soon after the Cubs counter-attacked and secured victory with a second goal.

Oli Rahman, chairman of HIO, said: “It was nice to see 13 teams from different backgrounds and professions - including Sussex Police, the Labour Party and Conquest Hospital - come together to take part in the HIO annual football tournament. It proves together we are promoting anti-racism in Hastings.”

The event was organised by HIO in conjunction with Active Street Games and made possible with funding from the council and the police, with additional support from Wisdens, Superstitch and Junkanoo. To contact HIO email hiosecretary@hotmail.co.uk or ring 07745 696088.