Mumbai: As the saying goes, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. But an old man can teach new tricks for sure. While that's certainly been the case for some of the school coaches, a handful of them have stayed at the highest level well beyond their so-called twilight years.
With every passing season, the coaches get younger and younger, but some coaches stuck around well past the usual retiring years.
Monday marked a special day for Leslie Machado, as he set an inter-school record to become the longest-ever serving coach in division I of the MSSA football.
In 1991, the Central Railway player arrived at the Don Bosco, Matunga ground, and since then has never turned back, no matter what has been the result of his team.
And Leslie Machado is one of them and incidentally, he is the oldest serving coach not by his age but the year he has put on with one team.
At the age of 64, Machado is active like any other much younger coaches in Mumbai school levels.
Prepare attack and destroy, reads his T-shirt, and he means it as his boys prepare, attack and destroy the rival defence.
When Leslie Machado arrived at the Don Bosco, Matunga football ground in 1991, it was one of the toughest job ever. But, the beginning was not that good, but as the summers passed by, the same team (different boys) became one of the titans of Mumbai inter-school football.
And on July 29, at the Cooperage ground, Machado was there again and like many times, it was with the team who emerged champions.
Twenty-nine years and still going strong, this 64-year-old Central Railway employee is the oldest coach of the Don Bosco Matunga football team.
The boys who made it happen were not born when Machado took over as the coach of the team, but his dedication and commitments to the game and his passion have changed things for one of the best schools both in academic and sports.
It was during the beginning of the school in June and the principal (the name he does not remember) asked Machado if he could coach these boys - yes was the response and since then he has been with the school coaching the boys.
"Today, it is 29 years since I took over as the coach and since then we have been doing pretty well, and there was an occasion during his tenure, the team (under-16 Div I) went on winning the title for six years in-a-row. that was amazing," said Machado after his boys beat Bombay Scottish 2-0 to regain their glory.