KOZHIKODE: While Kochi has already soaked in the trend of commercial playing fields, other cities in the state like Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode are warming up to the new craze.
Forza Nets, located on the rooftops of the HiLITE Mall in Kozhikode, is already proving a big hit with city dwellers, providing an ideal platform for youngsters who love to play football on a turf but are constrained by space. Started in July 2017, the playing area in the sprawling shopping mall has attracted many a youth to the sport.
“Forza is the first to come out with a playing area with artificial turf on a mall premises in Kerala. We were also the first to pitch such an idea in the country when we started our centres in Tamil Nadu years back,” said Forza consultant J F K Firthous.Currently, Forza has an area of about 4,500 square metres where people can play football. “We are getting good response from the public. Many come to Forza to play football in their free time. We also conduct tournaments and other competitions regularly,” said Firthous.
The charges for a group of 10, according to him, is R2,000 per hour. “We have a lot of space. We accommodate up to 10 such groups during a busy day. Also, the charges are around R1,500 to 2,000 during weekdays,” he said.Another facility called Ginga, named after Brazil’s free-flowing style of football popularised by the legendary Pele, is set to open at Karaparamba shortly. Firthous said the turf at Forza here could also be used as a multipurpose venue that can accommodate other sporting activities as well.
“The response in Kozhikode has been so overwhelming that Forza is also planning to expand to other cities in Kerala,” he said. “We have got inquiries from Thiruvananthapuram as well as Kochi and will be coming out with 10 other centres in various parts of Kerala in this financial year itself,” he said. The Kochi-based Francis Noel Ben, managing director of Jogo Football Arena, also has cities like Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram in his sights.
“Thiruvananthapuram, just like Kochi, has a very large community of IT professionals based at the Technopark. We are planning to open a centre along the Eenchakkal bypass that will tap into this potential. We are also starting one along the Beach Road in Kozhikode,” he said.
Playo The app that lets you play
The task of finding a free spot to play can sometimes be a daunting one. But that is where Playo, a smartphone app that lets you book playgrounds, comes in. Playo doesn’t just help you book the ground, but also allows you to host matches and discover other sports facilities around you. “It shows arenas available in a nearby radius, time slots open for booking and the pricing which makes it easier for us to play,” said Fredy. While the app features around 200 venues in cities like Bengaluru and New Delhi, Kochi has a lot of catching up to do. Badminton is the most popular sport across cities but in Kochi, football trumps all others. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices.