Having enjoyed the excitement of TNIE GOAL 2014 taking off in Malabar, one of Kerala’s most celebrated goalkeepers Victor Manjila is worried about budding footballers not having enough opportunities to flourish.
As opposed to his time, players in the state these days have been forced to stay off the field due to a severe lack of football tournaments in the country, the former India international told Express.
“When I started out, there were a lot of tournaments in Kerala and outside that produced a lot of quality footballers. But now we have very few tournaments for youngsters to showcase their talents,” said Manjila, who rose to the scene with solid performances under the bar for Calicut University during his college days in the late 1960s.
His illustrious career took him to Premier Tyres football team where he played alongside another legendary goalkeeper K P Sethumadhavan. Manjila went on to represent Kerala in six Santosh Trophy national football championships and donned the Indian colours in tournaments like the President’s Cup in South Korea and Kings Cup in Bangkok.
“Football is a game that can only be learnt by playing in competitive environments. Footballers should play and grow. When there is a lack of competitions to play at the school and college levels, players fail to reach their full potential,” he said.
In such circumstances, any tournament is a good tournament for Manjila.
“I have taken notice of the earlier editions of GOAL. It is good to know that the tournament is expanding and more colleges are fighting it out this year,” he said, adding that he wished to see more such competitions at various age levels.
Manjila also noted that such tournaments are a good platform to scout budding talents in the state.
“Tournaments like GOAL are a good chance for college footballers to herald their presence to the footballing community. Last year, the boys defeated the Kerala team who reached the final of the Santosh Trophy. That shows the talent on offer and the enthusiasm of these young footballers,” he added.