By Jad Abou Ibrahim
The Credit Suisse Asian MBA Football Tournament is a prestigious tournament that pits MBA teams from Asia’s top business schools. Held yearly, and organized by HKUST’s MBA students, the 2013 tourney featured 10 teams -.HKUST has three (3) teams, (HKUST International students, HKUST, HKUST Alumni, CEIBS, Nanyang (NTU), NUS, Chicago Booth, Tsinghua, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the major sponsor, Credit Suisse.
This is the 3rd year that Nanyang MBA is participating. Our multi-national team comprise of players w from Lebanon, Singapore, Canada, Austria, Germany, Pakistan, India and Singapore. The participating teams were divided into two groups of five teams- and two games were played simultaneously in courts next to each other. The top two teams from each group will qualify to the semi-finals of the Gold Cup, the two runners up teams from each group will then qualify to the semi-finals of the Silver Cup, and the last team from each group will play out a consolation game called the “Best of the Rest”.
Our first game was against CEIBS and it was one of the opening games of the group stage. As expected, excitement and nervousness was evident on the field from both teams. However that did not stop us from playing what we like most: attacking football from the second the referee blows his first whistle till the end of the match. We pressed towards our opponent’s goal when they had the ball and pressured our opponents when they had the possession. We managed to score a goal. Jad’s deflected shot from outside the goal area went in – 1-0, Nanyang take the lead. During the match two penalty shouts against CEIBS went unanswered by a very incompetent referee who caused more tension on the field between the two teams. However, CEIBS were able to tie the game, as they stole a point game by scoring a goal towards the dying minutes of the game. The game eventually ended in a draw- 1-1. A good start!
Waiting for our next game, we watched and observed our other opponent’s game very carefully. Our second match was against Tsinghua (from China) who played a counter-attacking style with wingers who boast good pace and skills. Our defense was rock-solid as we thwarted successfully any of their counter-attacks. Our team, however, was not able to find the net as well and the game ended 0-0. We haven’t loss a game still; nor have we won one yet!
Our third game was against Chicago Booth (from Singapore). Both teams were fighting hard for a win but this time, the referee issued many badly judged calls and his lack of discipline on the field nearly caused injuries. Chicago Booth took a surprise lead at the first half of the match but with our never-say die spirit, we fought on with Joshua scoring a goal to tie the game at 1-1. So far, 3 draws.
Our final group game was against NUS (from Singapore) and we needed to win to qualify for the semi-finals of the gold cup- if another draw or loss, it will put us in the silver cup playoffs. The game ended 0-0 with both teams hesitant to making mistakes on the field – we did have a couple of good attempts that were not converted into goals.
Thus we ended up in the silver cup semi-finals to face HKUST Alumni. With fatigue starting to show on some of us as we ran tirelessly over 20 minutes per game on a large field with relatively smaller goals; the task to win one game seems to loom a lot bigger as we hoped for a lucky break. This time, we used other players who have not played much during the initial games; and yes, some of us were physically tired to continue to play on. With both teams battling it out, the result ended in HKUST Alumni’s favor 1-0 in spite of the several chances we had to draw the score level.
Over-all , our team enjoyed our brief Hong Kong, experience especially the football tournament – we gained more international and cultural experience on a physical, emotional, and mental level. “I think we gained a lot from this experience, and will recommend to continue participation in this wonderful tournament “, said Daniel.
On a final note, on behalf of the Nanyang MBA Football team, we would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts, our kind-hearted donors and supporters, who believed and supported their fellow students in this worthy undertaking.