For the second year running, the Amaanah Lions won their HFA Division Championship this week, finishing three points clear of their nearest rivals.
The Lions achieved back to back championships when the season was officially ended based on points-per-game, with just four fixtures remaining.
Captain Mluli Mmunga's team led from the first game of the season, never surrendering the top spot, despite tough competition, and weathering the club's first and only loss midway through the season. The team's defense conceded fewer goals than any other team in the league; in attack, only the Lions had three players in the Top 10 scorers.
"It's a team with a name that the kids feel proud to be a part of." said head coach Amine Amrouni.
"It's a safe haven for them to grow and learn, to have fun and to integrate."
There are a number of reasons why the team is popular with the players and local community. For many, the Lions are more than a football team.
"Growing up, we moved to different places and different countries, so we really had no place to call home," said Michel Hmun, who scored seven goals this season.
"We never really had a comfortable place because we would leave again, or we were not welcomed by the people. even after coming to America, some of us still felt like we haven’t found a place to call home. However, for me I found a home in Football pitch, Football gave me the freedom to express myself. Football doesn't discriminate."
Amaanah will be automatically promoted, and will return next season to compete in a higher division, pending the resolution of issues relating to Covid-19.
"Obviously we hope to be back soon to defend the title again." said Richard Spragg, the program manager.
"The health and wellbeing of everyone involved is our first concern, so we'll be watching the situation closely and we'll let everyone know the plan as things develop. We want to thank everyone who's helped us this year both on and off the pitch, including Amaanah Services for their support and funding, our regular donors, the HFA itself, and everyone we've played with and against in the last twelve months. We're so grateful to all of you.'
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