There seems to be no end to the crisis the state football has been through for quite sometime now. Even though the 67th Santosh Trophy national championship is under way in different places, Andhra Pradesh players yet again remain mute spectators. The infighting among two groups has taken a heavy toll on game in the state and dashed the hopes and aspirations of young players who, for no fault of theirs, are not able to participate in any of the nationals as officials of the now-defunct AP Football Association (APFA) are busy fighting in the courts.
As if the failure of the All India Football federation (AIFF) to solve the over two-decade-old crisis is not enough, another crisis has hit the state football now. The indecision on the Telangana issue and the political uncertainty have made the AIFF think twice to make any serious effort to bring about an amicable settlement. This was revealed by Kushal Das, secretary of AIFF. ``It is very sad that players from AP have not been able to take part in the nationals for a long time.
We want to settle this issue by holding elections by bringing the two parties together. But unfortunately, the reigning uncertainty has made us think twice now. We have to wait and see because we don't want to face another crisis after division of the state,'' said Das.
Das said they had been making efforts to bring an end to the infighting.
``But every time we try to hold the elections, some one goes to court and brings halt to the process. It is very frustrating,'' he added.
Das they had made attempts to run the show with an ad hoc committee. ``But that we can do it for only six months,'' he said.
Former international Mohammad Habib squarely blames the AIFF and the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) for the present mess. ``I feel sad that official football is dead in the state. I would blame the AIFF and SAAP for this. They should be making more concerted efforts to resolve the crisis but they are not. It has been going on nor for just one or two but over 20 long years,'' said a rueful Habib. Habib, a very popular figure in Kolkata, is like a non-entity here. ``When I came here from Kolkata, I expected to see some good football but what I saw here is zero activity. It is sad that we may not find internationals from the land of Olympians in the near future,'' he said with a heavy heart.
Victor Amalraj, former India captain, said they had lost all hope of reviving the game in the state. ``If there is still some semblance of activity in the city or in the state, it is because of the few die-hard lovers of the game. There is some action in places like Trimulgherry or by Hyderabad Globe or in Visakhapatnam. Last year we saw thousands of youngsters turning up for the talent scout,'' he said.
According to Amalraj, the best way to revive the game is to form a committee of former internationals in the state and run the show. ``How long have we to wait in frustration and hope? It is shameful and depressing,'' he concluded.