The spectacle has begun. After spreading football fever across Malabar and Central Travancore, Goal-2014, the third edition of the all-Kerala inter-collegiate football tournament organised by The New Indian Express, stormed Kochi on Sunday.
The Sacred Heart College ground, surrounded by rich scenic beauty, embraced a gala mood as the tournament kicked off. ‘Move’, ‘Defend’, ‘Strike’, cheered the crowd as the ball started rolling. And, with the cheering crowd setting the celebration tone of the tournament, it was pure football frenzy that traversed the minds and hearts of players as well.
Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob inaugurated the final round of the state-wide football tournament. The Minister also flagged off the final round of the tournament where eight teams, qualified from the previous matches, will compete against each other for the next seven days.
In his inaugural speech, Anoop Jacob applauded the efforts for the The New Indian Express in conducting such a unique tournament.
“This would be significant in bringing out football champions from colleges across the state in future. We have a great lot of talented young athletes in our state. But, what perhaps we lack is proper encouragement,” said the Minister. He added that the situation should be changed with setting up tournaments like ‘Goal’ and reminded that when it comes to the game, the state stands like a champion.“This is a state which has produced sporting geniuses when there was no basic facilities available for any sport. We have made a great effort in setting up basic infrastructures for the sports. Synthetic tracks and other facilities have become a reality even in rural areas,” said Anoop Jacob.Two of the biggest attractions of the event were Olympian and Arjuna award recipient Mercy Kuttan and Kerala Football Association president and former Services captain P Anil Kumar.Bringing life into the event, Mercy Kuttan took a penalty kick against Anil Kumar who guarded the goalpost and defended.
Both fans of the Kerala Varma College, Thrissur and the St Xavier’s college, Thumpa, who played against each other on day one, were on a high. “It’s important for Kerala Varma to win this match,” said a fan of the Kerala Varma College.
According to another one from audience, it was not just about winning or losing.
“The love for football is something that behold us,” he said.