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Hatboro, PA: The 9th annual Masroor International Sports Tournament (MIST) concluded on Sunday April 8th after two days of intense competition and brotherhood. This year, the tournament was hosted by the Willingboro Jama’at with help of khuddam from across the East Region. The tournament was attended by khuddam from across the world including Canada, UK, Germany and France. In total approximately 300 participants took part in games of soccer and basketball.
The tournament began with the arrival of international and domestic teams on Friday evening at Masjid Al-Nasr in Willingboro, NJ. The events began Saturday morning and were honored to be in the presence of respected Ameer Sahib USA who presided over the opening session. Following the opening session the basketball preliminary matches began for both the International and National divisions. The games were competitive with many new young faces taking part this year. After salat, the soccer teams departed and began their portion of the tournament with indoor soccer at the nearby Warminster SportsPlex. Similar to basketball, the soccer games were divided into both the International and National divisions with MKA USA fielding a national team for the first time and competing in the International division. As expected, the defending champions from Germany brought a strong team but the talent from the other countries was undeniable as well. With 6 teams in the International division, each team got a good feel for the competition with Saturdays prelims and geared up for Sundays playoffs.
Sunday may go down in history as one of the most exciting days in MIST history. It all began with the soccer playoffs with everything on the line the teams brought an energy and passion that would rival some of professionals. The national pride each team exhibited was extraordinary. The surprises of the day came with MKA USA defeating France in penalty kicks in the first round and UK defeating the defending champs Germany in the semifinals to face a Canada team looking to build upon their first trip to MIST last year. The finals game was just as expected for 80% of the match with both teams playing a defensive style and remaining at nil-nil. However, the strength and skill of UK showed during the last 4 minutes of the match as the relentless attach finally took its toll on the Canadians. UK took home the trophy as MIST Soccer Champions with a 4-0 victory.
The events that took place on the basketball court were just as exciting. All teams had the tough task of grinding through the opening rounds and ensuring the strength to finish what they started. The international bracket finals ended up being between the USA and Canada as has been the case for the past few years. The teams have been rotating the trophy for years and it was time to see if Canada could repeat or would team USA reclaim the crown. Writing about the final game does not do it justice but it definitely lived up to the hype. The final 2 minutes of the game showed the spirit the MKA shows with a never say die attitude. Canada was facing an 11 point deficit with just over 2 minutes to play only to claw back to take the game into overtime. Well, one overtime period was not enough for these two teams it took two overtimes till Canada was able to eke out a 2-point victory over MKA USA. After the game the teams shook hands and hugged as there were no losers. This game in itself embodied what this tournament is all about by being able to engage in a heated match only to join hands in the end as brothers. Meanwhile, on the National bracket side we had MKA New York square off against the defending champions from the East Region. Just like the International finals, this game came down to the wire with MKA NY squeaking out a two point win in regulation.
During the close, Sadr sahib MKA reminded us as to how we all want to be remembered in life. Will we be the ones who come back and fight for the victory of Islam or will we take a back seat. Naib Ameer sahib, Naseem Mahdi, reminded us how a Muslim should be both physically fit to be a strong follower of our beloved Prophet (saw). With these words the teams departed with the same spirit they entered. Now the wait begins for the historic 10th anniversary of this auspicious tournament.Please leave us comments below on your thoughts of this years MIST. How can we improve and what did we do well.