Maziya Sports & Recreation Club is not simply a football club, it’s a colourful dream of many dedicated and hardworking people. It’s the result of more than just a long term friendship or family relationship. It is everything of everyone who made this dream come true.
Twenty years ago a family and their neighbours come together and brought forward one thing common in them; their love for football. And that common interest gave us Maziya Sports & Recreation Club and the name keeps growing since then.
Maldivesoccer.com sit with Maziya CEO Shafiu, a well-known and influential football figure, to capture this remarkable journey.
“Initially Maziya was a family team with our neighbours and we had this common interest of our love for football. From day one, with our neighbours we are managing the team” Shafiu started.
Just like many other clubs Maziya started their long journey from the bottom but they never looked back.
“Ahmed is the chairman from the beginning and Waheed is part of the team since third division. When we were competing in second division with coach Ismail Mahefooz, I started to involve actively in club management”
Many clubs had the joy of promoting to the top flight but very few managed to stay at the top. Maziya, from the beginning, looked like a team with a long term strategy. The reason they are one of the powerhouses of Maldives football is not a fluke.
“We weren’t envy of successes of clubs like New Radiant, Victory and Valencia in Maldivian football. To be frank, our main objective in first division was to avoid relegation and that was the task assigned to coach Ismail Mahefooz as well”
“We weren’t looking for a short cut to success. Since 2009, we were among the top three and in 2012 we aimed for titles. Of course winning a championship would have been a completely different feeling but we never pressurised our coaching staff and players for titles”
Maziya started eyeing for titles from 2012 as they started signing marquee players and it all paid off as in four years’ time they have won all major top flight trophies. First FA Cup, followed by President’s Cup and in 2016, they finally had their hand on illustrious Dhivehi League shield.
Clubs in Maldives are more popular for failing to meet financial demands than winning titles. Maziya is an example of financial stability. In their long 20 year history, there is hardly any moment where a player or any associate points the finger at Maziya management for failing to meet their financial agreement.
“We are very proud to say that we don’t have any financial issue with any player. No salary issue or any other issue related to money. It is our utmost priority to settle salaries, medicals and other financial matters on time and we have practicing this even today”
“Our chairman insists us to run the club such a way that we manage to run successfully from our earnings through sponsorship and other funding. I believe that’s the main reason why we are growing as a club”
From a mastermind running a club, Shafiu made his move to climb up the ladder as he teamed up with former FAM President Ahmed Thariq in running for Football Association of Maldives Executive Committee as Thariq’s senior vice president. But that journey was short lived as they ended up in the losing side.
“Yes we lost the election and that’s it. But we are fully behind the current management of FAM and we believe future is bright with current FAM President Bassam and we will give our full support”
Maziya is well known for keeping their faith in local coaches and some believed that was their downfall in achieving more glories in local football. Coach Suzain has resigned at the end of last season and may be the time is right for them to change that perception.
“Yes, for the first time we have decided to go for a foreign coach. Everything is now finalised and we will start practices in early January and by that time coach will join the team”
Maziya has earned a direct group stage slot for next year’s AFC Cup by winning Dhivehi Premier League and the recent change to AFC Cup format, they are aware the tough road ahead of them.
“If we look at the change in a positive way, we have a better chance of going further but again now it is just one team advancing from our group we know our biggest threat will come from Indian clubs. But we are optimistic”
Shafiu has highlighted three key names who have done a priceless work for the club. Fayaz, one of the shareholders, Manday and Ahmed.
We wish team Maziya, all the best.