Azaad Club

Season 2012

Azaad soccer team was a very busy bunch of players in its inaugural year, competing in 4 Sikh / Punjabi tournaments along with the VicSoccer morning league and knockout cup competition.

Azaad

The pre-season kicked off back in November 2011 and after a long lead up Easter signalled the arrival of the biggest Sikh event of 2012, the 25th Australian Sikh Games held in Sydney. Azaad arrived with some high ambitions but also many unknowns as it was our first ever tournament as a team. The first game was against Sydney SCSAS who were full of youth and enthusiasm which got them off to a flying start and the first goal of the game in the process. The boys settled down in the second half to play better football and not only pulled a goal back through Amrick Parmar but also netted a winner through Nav Pangly to ensure the team was off to a winning start. The second game against Sikh Sports Club Otahuhu NZ quickly became a one man show, unfortunately though he wasn’t an Azaad player. Before the crowd had even settled we were 2-0 down, but again the boys showed that this group was not one to lie down after a slow start. An epic come back was on the cards as Jaj Pangly put the ball in the back of the net from a beautifully executed free kick and Vishal Sharma smashed home a header from another set play either side of half time. Another goal was added from Shane Gill, however Otahuhu’s one man scoring machine continued down the other end leaving Azaad to rue the slow start and a 4-3 defeat.

Azaad

Day 2 started with a routine 3-0 win over Brisbane Calamvale B with goals from Amrick, Jaj and Sukh Sangha, meaning a place in the Quarter Final awaited against Sydney Khalsa. The tradition of slow starts in the tournament continued yet again, but not to be denied, the job still got done through goals from Amrick and Shane Gill, which resulted in a 2-1 win. The team was now starting to gain momentum and confidence within the group was growing. A Semi Final against Sydney Sikhs finally resulted in Azaad opening the scoring for the first time in the tournament through Jas Dhillon. It looked like there was no looking back as Azaad put in a dominant display only to be denied by the referee on two separate occasions. Just when things seemed to be going to plan lightning struck or maybe we should say “darkness struck”. What was supposed to be a game under lights quickly descended into darkness due to the lights not working. The referee allowed play to continue until the final minutes before finally calling the game off due to dangerous conditions. The damage was done however as completely against play a shot that could hardly be seen ended up in the back of the net to bring the game level at 1-1. After long deliberation it was decided the full game was to replayed the next morning. Another setback, another challenge and another opportunity for Azaad to show their character and determination. The boys came out for the replay ready to play and the game followed a similar trend to the original with Azaad the better team. Jaj got the scoring started and Amrick continued his goal scoring form netting the winner. At 2-1 there was still drama to come when Sydney was awarded a dubious penalty adding to the mountain of poor decisions by referees throughout the tournament. To Azaad’s delight, stand in keeper for the tournament Hardeep Ahluwalia eased the pressure with a fantastic penalty save and a place in the Final was booked. The long campaign had taken a toll and the team was now the walking wounded, having played an extra game and only having two hours break for the Final. The first half was a great struggle between both teams and the difference was a deflected goal to Otahuhu NZ. The defensive quartet of Joop Sidhu, Arashdeep Singh, Chandan Bains and Prince Nijjar, with help from others had kept the opposition’s star player quite. At half time it was game on! Unfortunately the slow starts that had been evident on Day 1 returned as the start of the second half bought about a second goal making it 2-0 to Otahuhu NZ. Soon after, substitute Ricky Gill received a red card and the match seemed to be slipping away. As had became the Azaad way throughout the tournament just when things looked lost there was a comeback. This time lead by Shane, a goal was pulled back. Several chances to equalise followed in the dying minutes and a red card to Otahuhu NZ gave a further glimmer of hope. On this occasion though the run had been left too late and the final whistle was blown at 2-1. A roller coast ride was drawn to a close with Azaad Club Melbourne securing their first piece of silverware with the Runners Up trophy for the 25th Australian Sikh Games.

Azaad

Following the Sikh Games the club also participated in the VicSoccer morning league. The boys showed great commitment through a 18 week home and away season which proved to be a bit of a roller coaster littered with some impressive results, the largest win being a 12-0 mauling of Trojan Athletic but then some not so inspiring performances resulting in points slipping away and thus halting any serious challenge to the top 2 teams on the table. In the end a 5th spot finish was a commendable position in our first year of competition and a mounting injury toll. VicSoccer also held a knock-out cup competition which Azaad made it through to the Quarter Final stages only to be knocked in a heart breaking 4-2 penalty shoot-out loss to Hapoel United. A special mention must be made to Ranveer Singh (Ronnie) and Jaj Pangly for their league seasons. Ronnie with 16 goals finished in the top 5 goal scorers and Jaj was voted third in the leagues Player of the Year award. Well done to both players.

Awards

2012 – Player of the Year – Jaj Pangly

2012 – Best First Year Player – Simar Grewal

2012 – Best Clubman – Shane Gill

2012 – Player of the Year Votes

Jaj Pangly 57
Shane Gill 44
Navdeep Pangly 33
Ranveer Singh 27
Chandan Bains 23
Hardeep Ahluwalia 20
Amrick Parmar 17
Jas Dhillon, Vishal Sharma 8
Simar Grewal 4
Gurwinder Singh, Arash Singh 3
Navdeep Rana, Gaurav Joshi 3
Ricky Gill 2
Joop Sidhu, Kunal Puri 1

2012 – Season stats

  Appearances
Chandan Bains 37
Navdeep Pangly 36
Simar Grewal 35
Jaj Pangly 34
Ricky Gill, Shane Gill 32
Jas Dhillon 30
Vishal Sharma 29
Joop Sidhu, Ranveer Singh 25
Kunal Puri 24
Mehtab Randhawa 22
Aarvinder Sandhu, Amrick Parmar 19
Hardeep Ahluwalia 18
Arashdeep Singh, Prince Nijjar 17
Shane Sidhu 16
Navdeep Rana 15
Gaurav Joshi 12
Gurwinder Singh, Michael Singh, Saurabh Joshi 10
Raaj Rayat, Romy Dhaliwal 8
Aman Singh, Hardip Garcha 5
Kanwar Nijjar, Satpal Gill, Sukhdeep Sangha 4
Ravi Johal 3
Ajit Singh, Maninder Singh, Mj Thind 2
Aman Guraya, Deep Singh, Naveen Sidhu, Neeraj Vij 1
  Goals
Ranveer Singh 19
Shane Gill 13
Jaj Pangly 10
Amrick Parmar 8
Chandan Bains 7
Navdeep Pangly 6
Navdeep Rana 5
Jas Dhillon 4
Ravi Johal 2
Ajit Singh 2
Hardeep Ahluwalia 1
Joop Sidhu 1
Kunal Puri 1
Michael Singh 1
Ricky Gill 1
Sukhdeep Sangha 1
Vishal Sharma 1

Vicsoccer - Division 1 West (Morning)

RANK TEAM P W D L F A GD POINTS
1 Barnstoneworth Utd 18 17 0 1 78 18 60 51
2 South Park Rangers 18 14 1 3 77 22 55 43
3 Western River 18 11 3 4 53 27 26 36
4 Hume Valley 18 10 1 7 75 48 27 31
5 Azaad Club Melbourne 18 9 2 7 47 32 15 29
6 Altona North 17 6 2 9 33 48 -15 20
7 Sunshine George Cross 18 5 4 9 37 52 -15 19
8 East Kew Utd 18 4 1 13 26 58 -32 13
9 Abadir Utd 18 3 2 13 24 48 -24 11
10 Trojan Athletic 17 2 0 14 13 107 -94 6

Throughout the year, 3 other Sikh / Punjabi tournaments were held. Shaheedi Memorial Cup in Griffith, NSW, the Victorian Punjabi Federation Invitational and SSSC’s Diwali tournament in Melbourne. Azaad competed bravely in all 3 tournaments but never quite emulated the form showed at the Australian Sikh Games, being knocked out in the group stages of all tournaments. Given the high standards set earlier in the year it was a disappointing way to end the season but the team had grown and come a long way. Players who only took up the game a few months earlier had developed and improved game by game and with several new faces coming on board the club will look to have a big 2013.