While some high-quality football led to outstanding goals, moments of madness saw several names going into the ref’s book in the first weekend of Hindustan Times GIFA (Great Indian Football Action) at Ansal University, Sector 55.
The action packed Saturday saw 80 teams competing in two categories — senior and junior — with some games going down to the wire while others got walkovers.
There are a total of 150 teams from various condominiums and societies across Gurgaon participating in the event.
Tense faces were seen among the players as well as the crowd as they all hoped to make it to the next round. High on GIFA fever, several residents came forward to support their teams.
Anxious teams were seen warming up on the other side of the ground, waiting for their matches to begin.
For 12-year-old Abhivir Sharma of Suarez 6, a junior team from the Wellington Estate in DLF 5, it was not about winning or losing as his team was focusing on giving a good performance to enthrall the crowd.
“It feels awesome to be a part of HT GIFA. Apart from being a motivating and interesting sport, we play soccer because we want to enjoy the game. HT GIFA will go a long way bringing residents, children, and corporate firms under one roof,” Abhivir said.
Meanwhile, many Gurgaon residents said they came to the venue after hearing about the league through friends.
“I heard about GIFA from a friend and I came here to check out the event. It seems like a well organised soccer league and this will be a great source of motivation for children who are passionate about football. I will come back to cheer for the SushantLok team whenever they are scheduled to play,” Mansi Kapoor, a resident of Sushant Lok 1, said.
Eleven-year-old Aryan Karwal, who is the captain of the team from Hamilton Court, said though they lost the first match, the event had given him an opportunity to share his love for football with people having similar interests.
“GIFA has given me an opportunity to interact with my society members who are as passionate about football as I am. This is a brilliant initiative as it has connected all residents. We gave it our best shot, but unfortunately lost the match,” added Karwal.
The matches concluded late evening with some stunning goals from players of both the junior and senior teams.
With the excitement of inaugural weekend, GIFA enthusiasts said they were now looking forward to next week’s performances.