The HT Great Indian Football Action (GIFA) has been creating tremendous excitement among budding players, and there is no dearth of passion and inspiring stories.
The ‘Nizamuddin Spartans’ from Nizamuddin basti have one to narrate. “All our team members are students, and most of the parents don’t allow them to play. So the boys lied to their parents that they were going for a feast at my home, and here we are. We want to play good football and GIFA can open new doors for us,” said Aziz, the team manager.
The young footballers have been playing on a piece of land that belongs to the Aga Khan Foundation near Humayun’s Tomb since 2007. The Foundation has also helped this ‘evening football club’ on many occasions but last November it refused permission for use of the ground. Since then, the team has been struggling for survival.
“As FCBescola and GIFA are partners, if our boys play well, they have a chance of getting scholarships. This would be a big boost for us,” said Zaheer, a newspaper vendor, who took the initiative of rebuilding the team.
For Om Parkash and Meenu Ali, GIFA is a big occasion as their sons have got a chance to play competitive football. “My son Suhail is crazy about football. Not many kids play around our house but we managed to build a team,” said Ali, a government employee. Suhail, a class 7 student, and Om Parkash’s son Nawal, are playing for ‘Dark Side’.
“Nawal told me about GIFA and he is excited. He also chose a name for the team,” said Om Parkash, a lab assistant.
“I searched the Net for a name as I wanted to have an impressive one. Real Madrid is my team and they also wear black sometimes. We are also wearing black shirts in this tournament,” said Nawal, a class 8 student.
Rashmi, Soumya, Shrishti and Keyaa were disappointed because their team, Vasant Vihar D-2, was thrashed 0-7 by Vasant Vihar D-15. But the Chinmaya Vidyalaya class 7 students were proud for a reason.
“Ours is a new team and we played against boys, which is not easy, but we tried our best. The score-line wasn’t good, however we finished the match,” said Rashmi.
Lokesh and Parul Sapra were happy parents in the stands. Their son Lakshya, 11, recently received a scholarship from FCBescola.
“This is good initiative because you are getting to play. We are happy for him and would like to see him play at the top level. He is a Barcelona fan and mad about Lionel Messi and Neymar,” said Lokesh, who played football at the school level.
“I am here for him and happy to see him play. This is a good opportunity for him,” said Parul.
GIFA has also created a game zone where parents can expect some good action with prizes on offer. There are events like skipping challenge, relay race, pushup competition, football shootout, abs challenge, dart competition, badminton, turn ball, archery and hoola hoop.
Emerging from the shadows!
Shadow Football Club are just a month old but they played one of the best matches on Sunday at the DPS RK Puram ground. After finishing 1-1 against SBCF in regulation, Shadow took the match away in the penalty shootout. Vidit Sharma scored the winning goal.
“I am happy that I scored two goals for the team today. Are you going to publish my name? I will show it to my father. Our keeper Vishal Tiwari defended superbly. Shubham also played well,” said Vidit.
“We build the team after HT announced GIFA a month ago. Our coordination was very good, and this is a new experience for us. We would like to play more tournaments like GIFA,” said Vishal.
DPS RK Puram are one of the contenders to the trophy as they recently won the Delhi NCR championship under former Delhi player and coach, Gobardhan Sahoo.
“We are enjoying the games as it is our home ground. My team looks confident and expectations are high. I feel the boys will justify their potential,” said Sahoo.
Sahoo said he had watched a few matches and some of the players were talented.