To improve grassroots level hockey, we need to have local tournaments, says Stanley D’Souza
Due to the lack of opportunities for the local players, he’s decided to begin a local-level tournament in the city.Updated: Mar 16, 2019 18:06 IST
Stanley D’Souza, the tournament director, has been the part of Pune hockey for the past three decades and is already a household name in terms of promotion and development of the sport in the city.
Along with being the tournament director, he is also the secretary of Priyadarshani Sports Club and due to the lack of opportunities for the local players, he’s decided to begin a local-level tournament in the city.
This will be the first edition of the Friendship Cup. What brought you the idea of conducting such a tournament?
To improve grassroots level hockey, we need to have local tournaments like the Friendship Cup. In the national tournaments, there are only 18-20 players from the city who are able to play, while the rest will just be watching.
Will such tournaments generate interest among the sport lovers in the city?
Yes, I think so. This is the only way we can improve the sport and bring it in the public eye. A number of teams have closed down because of the lack of any events taking place.
What do you think about the players who are trying to balance their sporting and work responsibilities?
They’re managing it perfectly because of their love for the sport. That’s something you cannot teach; it comes from within. Some of them working in corporate or other private firms are busy throughout the week, so we’re conducting the matches over the weekend for them.”
Was there any hesitation from certain teams to come and participate, given it’s the first edition of the tournament?
What we did was, we approached all the teams in the city and took a contribution from them to participate in the tournament. Also, as it is conducted under Hockey Maharashtra, none of the teams had any hesitation whatsoever.
What’s the reason for having the tournament in Pimpri and not at the Balewadi stadium which is undoubtedly a better surface to play the game on?
Balewadi has proven to be a very costly proposition for us. We’re somehow managing to fit in another tournament into our budget. All of us are also contributing to make this tournament happen.
What is there at stake for the winners?
We will not be giving them any prize money, but there will be some gifts that they will be given. This is because it’s a low-budget tournament without the involvement of any sponsors. If any problems arise, all of the umpires are going to contribute to resolve it.”
First Published: Mar 16, 2019 18:06 IST