KOCHI: Goal 2012, the inter-collegiate football tournament organised by The New Indian Express Group, came to a grand close on Sunday. Former International footballer and Chirag United Kerala captain Ajayan was the chief guest at the final match played between Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur, and M A College Kothamangalam.
The tournament, which garnered the attention of football lovers across the state, has proved that quality football has not lost its fans and spirit. The spectators who gathered to watch the match termed the tournament ‘a splendid experience’ and said they had been waiting to watch an all-Kerala tournament characterised by such zeal and competence.
Sixteen quality teams from four major universities in the state participated in the tournament. ‘Goal 2012’ witnessed tough football even from the group stage. Each of the teams showcased excellent skills and quality play throughout the tournament. There were only a couple of matches which saw a goal drought. The tournament was as much as about offensive football as much it was about the beauty of defence.
Players and team officials expressed satisfaction at the way in which the contests were organised. The experience and exposure that players gained here have benefited them. “The college teams in Kerala have never played a tournament which gave them so much exposure. The opportunity which they received through ‘Goal 2012’ will be an asset in their careers,” said Tony Daniel, official, Athletics Federation of India, and a football lover.
The Kerala Football Association (KFA) officials also agreed that the tournament has given a boost to the their activities.
Such tournaments help regain the lost glory of Kerala football. Players like Joe Paul Ancheri were the products of inter-collegiate tournaments. If Kerala wants to rejuvenate the game, such tournaments should be conducted frequently,” said KFA secretary Anil Kumar.