The State of Goa has made tremendous contribution to Indian Football and the Goan clubs have dominated the I-League making the AIFF proposal to restrict the number of clubs from a particular region highly controversial.
When anyone thinks about Indian football, Goan football is one of their topmost topic in the discussion. The tiny state in the west of the country has made a huge impact on the Indian football scenario in the last few years. Previously Indian football was restricted to Bengal but the emergence of the dominance of this tiny state has made a lot of people believe that professionalism can improve the football by leaps and bounds in the country. The Indian National football team has a number of players hailing from Goa. The I-League clubs from Goa have dominated the national league breaking the domination of Kolkata clubs. All this makes the recent proposal to put a cap on number of clubs from the state ridiculous .
AIFF in their recent meeting has decided to introduce a cap system in a number of clubs from the state/city in the national league system according to which Kolkata/Goa will be restricted to have only 3 clubs in the national league in the future. This decision of the AIFF has been criticized heavily by the Goan I-League clubs owners. At a recent meeting the Goan clubs have unanimously agreed to oppose this decision.
AIFF decision to put a cap on the number of clubs from the state will hamper the further growth of Goan Football. Kolkata is the city having cap for 3 clubs from the city is acceptable but Goa is the state where there are 4 major cities. Out of which only one city that is Panjim have two I-League clubs, Dempo and Sporting Clube de Goa. Having a cap on the number of clubs in states like Goa which is most active in the development of football will hamper the growth of football in the states.
A Proactive GFA And Its Contribution
The Goa Football Association or GFA has been one of the most active associations in the country. GFA is only the second association to have a stadium of its own. The association has been active in developing the standard of infrastructure in the state. GFA has been regular in upgrading the football infrastructure in the state. Goa has 3 decent stadiums like Duler Stadium, Fatorda Stadium and Tilak Maindan which have hosted I-League and apart from this Goa even has grounds in Raia, Calanagute, Candolim and a few others places with excellent facilities for the clubs and the players. When Goa has been able to produce so many stadium, most parts of the country still struggle to get one decent football stadium. Having progressed so much the system of having caps on the number of clubs in the state will be counterproductive and will put the good work of GFA and the clubs into the trash-bin.
The Goan clubs have shown Indian football that a professionalized approach always help in winning the trophies. The I-League trophy has never left the shore of the Goa and on every occasion Goan clubs have been managed to win the I-League. Goan I-League clubs have also been very active in the youth development system and this has helped the clubs in great deal. Salgaocar FC in particular has been a great example to follow. The likes of Beewan Dmello, Francis Fernandes came through the club youth system and helped the club win their first I-League title in 2010-11 season. I-League clubs in Goa have number of talent in the team now. At a young age it is very difficult for these players to get spotted by Non Goan I-League club. Reduction in the number of clubs will give limited opportunity for the players to show their skills and talent and will make youngsters think twice in Goa before taking up football as a profession.
Goan clubs in the past were heavily criticized for failing to attract people to the ground but things have changed drastically. The clubs have been able to attract large number of fans in the stadium in places like Mapusa and Vasco. Duler stadium in Mapusa which hosted I-League matches for the first time saw a lot of people from Mapusa and nearby villages’ people come to the stadiums on regular occasions and same was the case of Tilak Maidan, Vasco.
The Role Of None I-League Clubs In Goa
With this Rule of AIFF the club like Vasco and SESA FA will be most affected. Vasco SC which is one of the historic clubs in India after relegation from the flight has been fighting to come back in I-League ever since. The club with such past and huge amount of fan support if not allowed to play in I-League division 2 will result in a huge loss to Indian Football.
SESA FA has helped Goan football in the last 5 years in a big way. The football academy have been nurturing Goan Football players and results of same have started to emerge in the last 2 to 3 years with players like Adil Khan, Bruno Colaco, Pratesh Shirodkar grabbing few headlines. The club which has one of the best academies in the country needs a bigger platform like I-league and I-League second division to give the best opportunity for their talented players and the club will get affected by the new AIFF rule.
Apart from these familiar names in Indian Football, Goa has many clubs playing in a Goan league system and Village tournaments. One of the greatest coaches in Indian Football Armando Colaco who broke the dominance of Bengal in Indian football with Goan Giants Dempo Sports club has emphasized on the importance of the village tournaments and League clubs. 70% players in the Goan I-League clubs are scouts from these village tournaments and Goan lower leagues. The restriction on the cap will kill the bread and butter of this lower league club aspiring for the I-League club.
The non I-League club from Goan will eventually close down their club if they don’t see themselves having any potential of getting promoted in future. The Investors will think twice before putting their money in the clubs where they don’t see potential growth. This will eventually will lead to collapse of the league system in Goa and will have a huge effect on the future of football in the state. Players from emerging clubs like a Panchawadi Sports club, Laxmi Prasad Sports club, Nagao Sports club and CJ brothers who have shown lots of promise in recent times will find it difficult to prove their worth . All this will in the end affect the game at the national level
AIFF should rethink their decision of having caps on the number of clubs in the state. AIFF is not something Goan Club deserves for their professionalism and pro activeness. Instead of having Caps on the state AIFF could start full fledged I-League second division which will give more opportunity for clubs in other region, I-League second division if runs parallel to the I-League will give huge boost to the Indian Football creating a wide pool of players and give a Pan India look which AIFF wants to have. The idea of restricting the growth of one state in a bid to give opportunity to inactive state clubs is insane. We hope AIFF will rethink their decision and Goan clubs will get the justice.