Mumbai : In probably one of its biggest achievements, the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) has finally got a ground, that they can call its own. MHADA (Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority) has recently allotted a plot of land in Bandra to the local football association to develop a football ground. MHADA in an order (dated September 25, 2015) has granted MDFA the necessary clearance to utilise the land to create a football field so that they can smoothly conduct their league matches. For many years, MDFA faced many hardships to organise their various leagues, which took several months to complete. The MDFA had to depend on the St. Xavier’s Ground in Parel, Cooperage Ground, which belongs to WIFA and many other sporting associations to hire their ground and hold their matches. This was also a burden for the participating clubs and teams. But in the immediate future the MDFA will be able to organise their league matches without facing any hiccups. The local football body has taken charge of the Bandra ground and work has started to level the surface so that it becomes a full-fledged playing ground.

This major development was possible only because of the initiative and concerted efforts made by Ashish Shelar, a local MLA from Bandra (West). “We (MDFA) are extremely grateful to Ashish Shelar, an ardent sports enthusiast. A couple of year back, when Shelar, was the Chairman of the previous MDFA Executive Committee he had started the process with MHADA to help the association obtain the plot of land. However, due to some issues the project was stalled. But after Shelar was elected MLA in October 2014, he once again took up the matter with the MHADA authorities and through his good offices the land was sanctioned to MDFA to use,” said U. Banerjee, Hon. Gen. Secretary.

“During Shelar’s tenure as MDFA Chairman, he supported the association and assisted us in whatever possible way. Under Shelar’s chairmanship, the MDFA for the first-time ever felicitated our international players in 2012,” Banerjee further pointed out. MDFA’s present Chairman Aditya Thackeray also had a role to play in the association getting the Bandra plot. Thackeray has also taken the initiative to convince the authorities of the Andheri Sports Complex to permit MDFA to play their matches at the ground. Development and refurbishing work of the Andheri stadium is in progress and an international match is likely to be held in March next year at this venue. Thackeray is also putting in lot of efforts and using his good offices to help the association obtain more such BMC land to develop football facilities in the city.

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