After years of giving, hockey coach gets his due | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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After years of giving, hockey coach gets his due

Friday was an emotional day for hockey coach Merzban Patel. Having trained several underprivileged children, some of whom have represented India in the Olympic hockey games, the coach was rewarded for his 35 years of service.

mumbai Updated: May 08, 2010 02:21 IST

Friday was an emotional day for hockey coach Merzban Patel. Having trained several underprivileged children, some of whom have represented India in the Olympic hockey games, the coach was rewarded for his 35 years of service.

Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co-operative Limited presented Patel with a cash prize (amount withheld on request) in recognition of his dedication.

The company’s attention was drawn to Patel’s work when they read an article about him in the Hindustan Times’ edition dated March 14.

“After reading the article, we got interested in him. We met him, and talked in detail about his work and his future plans, and we felt he seemed genuine,” said Nariman Bacha, senior manager, administration at the company.

Patel, who earns Rs 6,000 per month as the hockey coach at two south Mumbai schools, paid for the equipment and nutrition of the underprivileged boys he trained.

The Godrej employees collected money and sent it to Patel and also bought him his first mobile phone.

On Friday, the company presented Patel with a cheque for an additional amount sanctioned by the Pirojsha Godrej Foundation. “It’s like a dream,” said Patel. “It’s a very rare thing for people not involved in hockey to come forward and help a hockey coach.”

He said his dream for the past 40 years has been to set up a residential hockey academy, which would take care of the children’s education, diet and sports training.

“It’s been a long and unfulfilled dream. It won’t come true immediately, because hockey has become such an expensive sport, and these boys come from very poor backgrounds,” said Patel. “If not this year, maybe next year or it may even take five years. Who knows?”