Thunderous applause reached a crescendo when sport, film and politics converged at SH College, Thevara for the inauguration of Goal 2013, the Inter-collegiate Football Tournament organised by The New Indian Express, on Wednesday.
Megastar Mammootty stole the hearts of fans who thronged the venue to catch a glimpse of their favourite actor who reached the venue at 3.05 pm. He too joined the celebrations while reminiscing his days as a student of the college. And, the ground reverberated with loud cheers as Mammootty addressed them. Though he was a student of the college, he admitted that he had not got the chance to play the game on the lush green grounds. “Even in my native place we did not get a chance to play football. Though I love the game, I have never played it. But, I was lucky enough to see the exhilarating performance of the Kerala team in 1973 lifting their first-ever Santosh Trophy,” said Mammootty. The actor also shed light on the apathy of the Centre towards sportspersons in South India.
Meanwhile, the young and old were equally thrilled to see their favourite star up close. “So far, we have seen Mammootty on screen. This is the first time we are seeing him for real,” said the excited students of the college.
The spirit of football was ignited when the 1973 Kerala team was also felicitated during the event. “Though the players of 1973 Kerala team were felicitated, it was Mammootty who got all the claps,” said Ron and Abraham, Plus-One students of Sacred Heart HSS. The mood was upbeat with people covering up Mammootty who along with Union Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister Ajay Maken and TNIE Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla hoisted the Goal flag.
Each member of the team who bagged the Santosh Trophy in 1973 was honoured. Ajay Maken launched the football tournament by kicking off the ball. The tournament began with the reigning champions Sree Kerala Varma College playing against Maharaja’s College.