THE 36th annual Nations Cup soccer tournament took place in Richmond on July 17 to 19. The Nations Cup is recognized by players and spectators alike as one of the foremost amateur men and women’s soccer tournaments in Western Canada.
India entered a total of six teams (men’s, women’s, and men in age groups over 30, over 38, over 45 and over 52). The only other nations to enter teams in every group were Ireland and Scotland.
Of India’s six teams, four went on to compete in their respective finals. The over 52’s lost a close match to Scotland; the over 45’s defeated China in penalty kicks to take the title; the women’s team defeated Canada in overtime; and the men’s team also won in overtime (against Germany) to give India its’ third title of the day.
For the women’s team, it was a huge achievement. India has been entering a women’s team since 2006 and this was the first time they reached the finals. The team cruised through the round robin part defeating Africa, Italy and England, outscoring the three opponents 15 to 0. In the finals, the team faced Canada (which many considered the top team). India was up to the challenge and carried the play for most part of the game. The game was fiercely contested by both sides and after regulation the game ended in a 2-2 draw. The game went into overtime (golden goal) and India prevailed by scoring late in the first overtime half to win their first title.
Women’s team members: Monpreet Heer, Jasmine Dhanda, Simran Meelu, Ratikha Grewal, Janny Mann, Cassandra San, Priya Sandhu, Gagan Parhar, Gurbir Gill, Haroop Malhi, Shanay Sangha, Jessica Sidhu, Katie Inkster, Parm Rai, Reetu Johal, Simrin Dhaliwal, Jotie Sidhu and Tajvir Aujla.
Coaching staff: Rob Sangara, Jas Dhanda, Bindy Braich, Kash Sidu and Herraj Sandhu.