Mumbai: As if the delayed selection of Mumbai's U-16 and U-19 hockey teams for the national championship at the Sports Authority of India in Bhopal wasn't enough, there's another twist to the episode. Three days before the teams are scheduled to take the train to Bhopal, the boys have been asked to shell out Rs 3000 each.
The parents were shocked, for the Mumbai Schools Sports Associations (MSSA) hadn't, at any stage, intimated about an additional, unaccounted fee for the tournament from October 4-8.
“Yes, the boys have been asked to pay Rs 3,000 as the MSSA, one of the oldest school sports associations, has run out of money owing to the pandemic,” said MSSA's joint secretary Joe Monteiro.
“We want our children to play and we have to shell out this money,” said one of the parents who refused to be named. Although they're silent so as not to offend the association, they've expressed their dismay to this paper, saying it's highly unbecoming of an organisation of MSSA's stature to ask for such an amount, that too without an acknowledgement or receipt. “No, we are not issuing any receipts and why should we?” Monteiro asked. “We sent around Rs 3,50,000 to the girls teams for the same champion earlier this year, and you could assume the amount would be the same for these teams also.”
FPJ understands there wasn't even an official communication on the association's part about this unexpected amount or a basic courtesy to give a break-up of why it was needed.
“MSSA asking the parents to shell out money is shocking,” said Manoj Bhore, the secretary of the Hockey Maharashtra, who was surprised by the move of the MSSA, one of the oldest school sports associations in Asia with over 400 schools under its wings.
He added, “It has been the practice ever since the championship started four years ago. The affiliated member school/association have to bare the expenses of the teams taking part. I am sure they (MSSA) are well off, and they can definitely meet the expenses of the boys.”
Bhore said he would definitely bring this issue up in the next Hockey Maharashtra meeting.
Interestingly, the association didn't charge any extra amount for the girls team selected for the same championship earlier this year.
Goalkeeper Adrian Braganza will lead the under-16 team, while Moksh Shah has been named as his deputy
n Father Jude Rodrigues and Ignatius D’Souza will accompany the team as manager and coach, respectively
Adrian Braganza, Atharv Bandekar, Aditya Sanjeev Kabare, Ravi Paresh Bharadia, Shaun Benedict D’Mello, Moksh Shah, Cristiano Paul Correira, Glenn Nazareth, Ranjan Gond, Jayden Kyle Pereira, Seraj Ahmed, Tanay Patwa, Dhruv Yadav, Krrish Nandrajog, Nauman Nisar Sayyed, Jayaaditya Govalkar, Harsh Sanjay Rakshe, Samien Sequeira. Stand-byes: Daniel Darre; D’Souza, Swayam Sanju Gangurde
More support for Pawan
Meanwhile, Pawan Samantrai, who lives atop a BMC toilet and was selected for Mumbai's U-19 squad to play in the Bhopal Nationals, continues to receive help from unexpected quarters. This paper was the first to report about this talented mid-fielder, who sharpened his skills with general sticks despite not having the basic amenities in life. Many sportspersons, including Joaquim Carvalho, offered to fund his kit.
And now, Rakesh Dalal, a businessman from the city has offered to sponsor Pawan's entire Bhopal trip besides funding his kit. “I am very thankful to FPJ for highlighting the plight of such talented hockey players,” said Dalal.
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