Doha: A jam-packed Doha Stadium witnessed a fun-filled football evening on Friday as the City Exchange Ria IME-QIA Champions League 2018 was formally inaugurated. An exhibition game between India and Nepal was also held as the highlight of the day.
After the initial Group C game between South Indian FC and FSC Naseem Al Rabeeh, the sixth edition of the tournament was declared open by Sharaf Hameed, the CEO of title sponsors City Exchange. In the presence of representatives from Qatar Football Association (QFA), Indian community leaders, tournament sponsors and QIA officials, Sharaf emphasised his firm's constant support for football in Qatar and expresses his best wishes for the tournament's success.
QFA media in-charge Abdulrahman Al Abduljabbar went on to praise QIA for organising the annual tournament and promised the encouragement and support of the country's football authorities.
Hari Subramony, manager of QIA Champions League platinum sponsor Isuzu-Jaidah, also addressed the audience and spoke of his pride in being a part of such a fantastic event.
QIA chief patron MS Bukhari spoke of the organisation's future plans and also promised complete support towards the upcoming Emir's Cup. In a similar vein, Indian Sports Centre's Nilangshu Dey and IBPN’s KM Varghese praised QIA, whose patron Habibu Nabi thanked all fans for attending the event.
Naveed (Gulf Star Group) Jaya Prasad (JP Automotive) also addressed the audience and spoke of their pride in being a part of such a fantastic event.
QIA president EP Abdulrahman expressed his gratitude towards all sponsors, supporters and volunteers for their undying support in organising the tournament every year.
The inaugural ceremony was followed by the exhibition game between India and Nepal. Rahul KP, India's U-17 World Cup star, and Nepalese national team star Sujal Sreshta headlined the respective starting lineups. India went on to win the game 1-0, with Mufeer scoring the lone goal.
Later on, in the second group game of the day, YAAS Qatar defeated Team MBM 3-1. On April 12, the next match day, two games will be played at Doha Stadium.