MALAPPURAM: Taking a cue from the success of the TNIE Goal initiative, Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson touched upon the need to take the tournament to the next level by giving it a national hue. The fifth edition of the all Kerala inter-collegiate football tournament got off to a cracking start at the Malappuram District Sports Council Stadium, Kottapady, on Sunday.
Inaugurating TNIE Goal 2016, Thomson said the initiative has played a pivotal role in reviving the football culture in the state at a time when tournaments are drying out fast. “I am not a sports person. But I love sports, especially football. That is the main reason I accepted the invitation to attend the event as the chief guest. It is a great pleasure to be here,” Thomson said. He also promised all support for the success of the tournament.
Former Kerala footballer Asif Saheer, who shared the dais as the guest of honour, said he was honoured to be part of a team that was putting in all the efforts to revive football in the state.
“There is a clear dearth of tournaments in Kerala. As a footballer, I am sad at the sorry picture of football in the state. This used to be a state where at least six or seven major competitions were held. If you want to produce players, you must provide them a platform,” said the leading goal-scorer in Santosh Trophy. Attending the inaugural function, District Collector T Bhaskaran extended all support to the inter-collegiate tournament.
“I extend all my help for the tournament that can play a huge role in scouting talent,” he added.
TNIE Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla hoisted the tournament flag. TNIE Kerala Resident Editor Vinod Mathew welcomed the gathering while General Manager P Suresh Kumar proposed the vote of thanks. Malappuram Municipal Chairperson C H Jameela, Kerala Football Association Treasurer P Ashraf, Malappuram District Football Association (MDFA) secretary K Surendran, Malappuram Assistant Collector Afsana Parveen, Perinthalmanna Sub Collector Jaffar Malik and Tirur RDO Dr Arun offered felicitations.
Coca Cola Public Affairs national head Ajai Kumar K, R Senthil Kumar of TVS and former MDFA secretary K Saleem too attended the function. KVM College, Valanchery, Malappuram beat Sacred Heart College, Thevara, 4-2 on penalties.