Preston Manor School, London, hosted the annual Yousef Zayni tournament to commemorate the passing of Iraqi youngster Yousef Zayni, nearly six years ago. The event, named in Yousef Zayni’s honour, was the fifth successful football tournament organised to celebrate the life of the much loved Iraqi who passed away at the tender age of 23, back in December 2011. Adored by the London community. his friends and family continued to support the football tournament by attending in droves. The occasion included a raffle ticket draw, where awards included tickets to watch Manchester United at Old Trafford, three free personal training sessions with www.JumpLiftSprint.com, and personal boxing sessions with Iraqi boxer, Ali Adams, who was also in attendance to show his support for the fantastic cause. The money made by the event was graciously donated to Iraqi orphans as is the case every year.
The tournament itself consisted of fourteen teams, separated into three groups, from which the top two sides qualified to the knockout stages alongside the third placed teams from the two groups of five. Each team may consist of up to eight players, with only six players each allowed on the pitch at any given time.
It was a close tie in the final but La Masia ran away with the winner’s trophies for the third successive year running. However, the number of people in attendance was the real highlight of the day, which showed the importance of football to Iraqis, whether in Iraq or abroad. Rarely do events gather such a vast crowd and to see such a large turnout was a wonderful sight to behold – made even more impressive given the horrendous weather and rain on the day. The event managed to raise a whopping £2250 for the Iraqi Orphan Foundation.
Ali Adams graced the event with his presence as he joined in on the fun. The professional Iraqi boxer volunteered to train a lucky winner for three sessions as a victory prize for the raffle draw. Moreover, the 34 year old spoke to IraqFootball.me and expressed his desire to return to the ring after a prolonged absense from boxing. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know Iraqi sportsmen outside of football. We wish Ali the best of luck in his next fight, which will be monitored closely by our team.
“With this realisation we have created a foundation in the name of our late brother that will bring everyone together to maximise each other’s potential through numerous initiatives. We plan to organise professional workshops designed to equip the community with the tools to make a difference; youth camps – providing an environment where we can bring the next generation together and allow them to form memories & friendships that will last a lifetime; sporting events that aren’t just football; discussion forums; charity dinners; family picnics; adult Arabic classes, photography courses; and group european football away days.” – Yasir Zayni, brother to the late Yousef Zayni.
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