Mumbai college gets football bonanza amid FIFA World Cup 2022

Xavier Institute of Engineering (XIE) has created an AstroTurf, a synthetic football ground, according to the standards of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).

Aditi AlurkarUpdated: Thursday, November 24, 2022, 09:23 PM IST
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XIE on Wednesday, inaugurated an ‘AstroTurf’ sprawling over 30,000 sq ft in Mahim |

Mumbai: The season has arrived when city colleges are spawning with arguments over the latest football showdowns. A ‘FIFA fever’ has once again gripped all football buffs of Mumbai, who vicariously experience the thrilling sport through the World Cup. This energy rarely makes it to the turf from the TV as open spaces in the city are made to pay the price of population.

In the thick of this space crunch, Xavier Institute of Engineering (XIE), on Wednesday, inaugurated an ‘AstroTurf’ sprawling over 30,000 sq ft in Mahim. The college has created an AstroTurf, a synthetic football ground, according to the standards of the International Federation of Association Football(FIFA). This turf has been set up on the vast empty ground present within the college campus.

“I believe this is the best use of our space,” explained Fr John Rose SJ, Director of XIE. “NBA and NAAC have been encouraging colleges to share resources. Keeping this in mind, we have opened the turf to students from all colleges and schools within the city,” he added.

Three small grounds have been combined to make a larger turf. A smaller fourth ground has been established as well. The angle behind this initiative is to make sure that the youngsters are spending their energy constructively.

“We have observed that a lot of students have been drinking, indulging in drugs, or just wiling away time in malls. If youth-centered opportunities are not created in the city, then one cannot really put the blame on children,” said Fr John Rose.

After the inauguration, the Jesuit Higher Education Board (JHEB) plans to go grand on their annual sports event. A football tournament called the ‘Xaviers Cup’ is to be introduced for the four Jesuit colleges under the board. “Students will be able to practise conveniently after the turf,” said Abhishek Jain, the football coach at XIE.

“Previously, the ground on campus would turn to slush during the monsoon months. This took away 4-5 months of practice for students. Now students can play all year long without the fear of being badly injured,” added the coach.

FIFA compliant AstroTurf at XIE

India's lagging progress in football has come to the forefront with the increasing hype for the sport across all age groups. An under-enthusiastic approach towards Indian Super League, the country’s professional football tournament for men, could also be attributed to the grassroot problem of ‘not enough turfs.’

“ Booking the turf for 1.5 hours costs us around 3,500 rupees. One cannot practise regularly if it costs that much. So students often resort to playing football on cricket grounds, which is rarely levelled and can lead to serious injuries,” said Aarav Bhanushali, said a 17-year-old football fanatic.

“Other smaller countries like Iran, who gave enough support to their teams, have at least qualified for the World Cup. For India, however, these international tournaments seem so far away,” added the student.

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