THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The G V Raja football tournament which was revived in January 2010 after a gap of 25 years is again falling back to slumber. The District Football Association, on whose shoulder lies the responsibility of organising the tournament initiated in the name of the Colonel Goda Varma Raja of the Travancore royal family, is apparently least bothered about conducting the event.
The tournament, which was first expected to roll from January, was later postponed to February. But the event is unlikely to start in March as well, as the organisers have already expressed their inability to find sponsors.
Speaking to City Express, V Sivankutty MLA, president of the District Football Association, said that finding sponsors was a tough job.
”The estimated budget is ` 40 lakh. No one has come up yet to claim sponsorship. Besides, I-League football will be on till the middle of April. So, top teams would not be available for the tournament and hence the option for conducting the tournament in March stays suspended,” he said.
But this version of the president contradicts what the secretary, Geevarghese, had told Express earlier. He had claimed that the event was a platform for the ‘’minnows’’ to showcase their talent. He even said that some of the I-League teams had expressed their desire to play in the tournament, but taking into consideration the fact that small club teams from the State and outside would suffer a setback owing to the presence of big teams, the mighty clubs would not be invited.
But the decision to delay the tournament has not gone down well with former professional players. V P Shaji, the current coach of SBT, is one among the many who is disappointed over the decision.
”The tournament should be conducted at the earliest. This is one of the few surviving tournaments in the State. Players need match experience to evolve into professional players,” he said.
But Thiruvanantha-puram’s loss would be Kozhikode’s gain. The fourth edition of the E K Nayanar Memorial Gold Cup Football Tournament to be played in Kozhikode during February-end will
have participation of eight major teams in the country.