WePlay: Community Of Footballers In Mumbai Striving To Make People Play

WePlay: Community Of Footballers In Mumbai Striving To Make People Play

Along with sports, WePlay also promotes inclusivity as women and senior citizens also join the game and play along with the youth.

Dhairya GajaraUpdated: Tuesday, April 23, 2024, 11:32 AM IST
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In a city like Mumbai where work takes away the majority of time in people’s life, a community of footballers has come together to make sure that they can take out time for sports at least twice a week. WePlay, an initiative that started as a whatsapp group has evolved into a community of more than 2000 members organising football matches across the city.

In an effort to keep sports alive in their daily lives, football enthusiasts from across the city come together to organise matches and invite people to participate in the game. Every week around 30 football matches are organised by WePlay in areas like Andheri, Dadar, Borivali, Mulund, Powai, Thane, Mahalaxmi as well as Navi Mumbai.

WePlay started off as a whatsapp group in 2022 when Pratish Pallath, a 34-year-old entrepreneur, wanted to relive his college days by playing football but could not get enough people to participate in the game and also faced issues with booking football turfs during the weekend. Pallath added his friends who were also football enthusiasts like him and started organising matches once a week.

From a WhatsApp Group To Thriving Community Of Football Enthusiasts

“We were enjoying our weekly games and then someone posted the group’s link on social media and it just blew off. People from far off places like Navi Mumbai and Thane also showed their interest in the games and volunteered to organise matches in their respective areas,” said Pallath.

Football enthusiasts from different areas of Mumbai volunteer to organise a match and share the timing on a whatsapp group, which is later joined by more people. To give relief to the players from funding the entire sum of money to book the turf and then collect it from other players, WePlay pays the entire amount to the turf owners and later collects it from the players who had participated in the match.

WePlay Expands Reach And Activities

WePlay has also partnered with multiple turfs across the city and books the weekend slots so that more people can join during the weekends and play without the worry of booking a weekend slot before two weeks. Soon, WePlay will add ten more locations including Bandra and Seawoods to organise such matches and is also working to organise cricket and badminton matches on regular matches.

As the community’s presence has grown across the city, an intra-community football tournament was organised by WePlay on April 14 where teams from different areas indulge themselves in friendly banter and then compete with each other on the turf. Pratish and his friend Alpesh Jain, who is also his business partner, planned and put together the tournament in a span of months.

WePlay: Fostering Community, Friendship And Business In Mumbai's Sports Scene

Along with sports, WePlay also promotes inclusivity as women and senior citizens also join the game and play along with the youth. “We call it a community because here, people get friends. People coming from different states to Mumbai find their best friends through WePlay, they get hired by their co-players and also carry out business deals within the community, which makes it successful in every way,” Pallath added.

Talking about the lack of public spaces to play sports, Pallath said, “There has been a change in culture where my friends’ kids do not know that sports can be played in sandy grounds as well, they only know about turfs. Our city has improved in terms of infrastructure as there are so many turfs available across the city but the bigger problem is that it is not accessible to everyone. Public parks are turning into buildings and the play area in societies is vanishing.”

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