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  • Writer's pictureRob Stevens

Zufran Asghar 'proud' as Singh Sabha show character and mental strength to retain the League Cup

PICTURE: Singh Sabha celebrate with the League Cup after a 3-2 win in extra time against Old Windsor in the final at Burnham FC on Bank Holiday Monday, PHOTO: Gary House

Singh Sabha manager, Zufran Asghar, believes that sticking to a game plan was the key to beating Old Windsor and winning the League Cup this season.

The Os had held the upper hand on Sabha having won the first two legs in an enthralling three-match series between the two sides.

Asghar admits that his team had been punished for making mistakes in defeats in the Slough Town Cup final and Showcase Match.

But, he is proud that Singh Sabha was able to show character and real mental strength to beat their old rivals 3-2 after extra time to retain the League Cup.

Sabha are the sixth club to win back-to-back League Cup trophies and the first since Iver Heath Rovers in 2016. No club has ever won the competition three years running.

Asghar, said: “I’m so proud of the boys, they did really well, and stuck to a game plan this time. In the last two games against Old Windsor, no-one really stuck to the game plan and we fell short. This time, everyone to a man played their part.

PICTURE: Singh Sabha pose for a group photographic having become the sixth club in the history of the East Berkshire League to retain the League Cup. PHOTO: Gary House.

“Old Windsor are a good side and played to their strengths in the final. They just fell short this time but they gave us a good challenge.

“It’s been a challenging month for us with players fasting and games coming thick and fast, and the turnaround to plan for matches and rotate the squad.

“We fell short in some games but held out well this time around and eventually came good. The boys kept on digging and thankfully we were rewarded in the League Cup final. It was just a blessing that it was Eid on the same day and we had a double celebration.

“I’m proud of the team, well done to them. I’m glad we can show some silverware for the season so far, and it’s still not over yet. We’ve got an actioned-packed May so will keep on going and have another cup final (Ascot & Fielden Charity Cup) to look forward to.

“We’ve got some big games still to play in the league and, if we can win all of them, let’s see what happens at the end of the season. I'm hopeful that we can add more silverware but, if not, it’s been a good season.

“I’m thankful to the league for giving us a lot of content, praise and coverage. It has really helped our team and the league to grow.”

PICTURE: Singh Sabha manager, Zufran Asghar, was left feeling proud of his team after success in the League Cup final. PHOTO: Gary House.

A goal from Harry Farnan gave Old Windsor the lead in the League Cup final at Burnham FC but, Singh Sabha were level at the break as Pritpal Raju scored from the penalty spot following a foul on Hassan Mahmood inside the box.

The Os edged ahead again when George Gould struck in the second period, before Jovan Baines equalised with 10 minutes still to play to force extra time.

Raju then made himself the Sabha hero when sweeping home from a good move in the additional 30-minutes period.

Asghar commented: “It’s been a crazy few days and games. We’ve now completed our trilogy with Old Windsor, which has been a real rollercoaster ride.

“We didn’t have much turnaround from the league game to plan for the Cup but things just fell into place for the final. Squad-wise, we was quite limited in what we had because we had players drop out or were ineligible, so things kind of worked out for us in terms of selecting the starting line-up. We was able to change our system and it helped us to plan for the game a little bit easier.

“We went into the game knowing that a win was a must. We didn’t turn up to another final to lose. We wanted to go out and give it our best shot because we knew we had the quality on the pitch to win the game, and that’s how it went.

PICTURE: Singh Sabha celebrate a controversial goal, scored direct from a drop ball situation, in the 3-2 defeat to Old Windsor in the Showcase Match at Stag Meadow on Friday night. PHOTO: Gary House.

“We started off well but Old Windsor got a goal completely against the run of play. The goals we give away come from our own mistakes and we get punished all the time. You make a mistake against Old Windsor and they will punish you because they’re a good side, going forward and at the back.

“But, we kept on playing our football and were rewarded with an equaliser just before half-time.”

He added: “We was on the front foot in the second half but again Old Windsor got a goal to take the lead.

“I thought it was going to be one of those games again where we was playing all the football but would fall short, but we didn’t.

“We kept on going and the boys showed good character and mental strength. They kept on playing and going until the end. We was rewarded with the equaliser 10 minutes before full-time and I knew that if we kept on playing our football we would win the game, and in the that’s what happened.

“I knew that once the game went into extra time we would have the legs on them. Our fitness levels showed and we got the goal early on in extra time.”

Singh Sabha are now relying on other results to go in their favour as their bid to retain the Premier Division title suffered a major blow following a 3-2 defeat to Old Windsor in a Showcase Match on Friday night.

Ashgar admits things did not go according to plan for the defending champions at Stag Meadow but, insists his side will keep on pushing until the final game of the season.

He said: “The Showcase Match didn’t go according to our plan. We rotated our team and thought we would have a better balance within the side but, mistakes at the back cost us and we were punished.

“We didn’t play to our strengths that night and just fell short. The boys tried right up to the end but Old Windsor defended well. We didn’t do enough to win the game but I thought we should’ve nicked a draw because of the amount of possession we had.

“There was a crazy few minutes early in the second half which really took the game away from us. They scored two quick goals and it put us on the back foot but, we didn’t give up and kept on going until the end.

“Things didn’t go the way we wanted on the evening. We wanted to play our football but it just didn’t work for us. The personnel changes didn’t help us either, but you live and learn from it.

“It puts us in a tricky position in the league. Before the game, the league was in our hands but it’s not any more and we need to rely on others. We will keep on pushing until the end and give it our best shot. We will keep on going and see what happens at the end of the season, but well done to Old Windsor.

“We would also like to thank the league for giving us the opportunity for the Showcase game and for allowing us to play at Windsor Football Club. It’s always a pleasure to play at such a nice ground and their lovely pitch. It was a great opportunity for the Club and we really enjoyed it.”

To enter the East Berkshire Football League ahead of the 2022/23 season, or for further information about the league, or an entry form for the upcoming season, please email the team at


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