Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Kaife? Kaife? Aife! Aife!
Subrata Pal has become a hero overnight thanks to three spectacular saves in the penalty shoot out against Syria on the eve of Nehru Cup Final and has surely given us all a reason to smile amidst all the chaos that surrounds our daily lives. No praise for this Indian Football team can be complete without the mention of Bob Houghton, the Indian Football team coach who not only helped players own a sense of self-belief but also reflect the same on the field or the captain Baichung Bhutia who has been no less than a torchbearer for the sport in India for almost a decade now(not to mention, bereft of a Khel Ratna award and having faced a six month suspension from playing for the club Mohun Bagan for reasons better known to the Anjan Mitra (General Secretary, Mohun Bagan) led executive committee; the media cites Baichung's participation in a dance reality show to be the key reason behind the inexplicable decision as against the club's stance that it had solely to do with the prolific striker missing an exhibition match of the club at Jalpaiguri ). There are three key issues I would like to bring to the desk( read 'for discussion').
Firstly, the win itself ! This win not only ensured that the cup (Nehru Cup) remained in the country but also gives us a sound enough reason to mutate our thoughts towards the game itself, to start with, and then towards the team (the national team) that has been ingrained in the minds of us Indians for generations; the thought that football is not as great a game as some others (read CrICkeT !) and that chances of an Indian team performing well in the interntaional competitive (very competitive, to be precise!) arena are lean, infact non-existent.
Secondly, the sport and its management in the country. It is a well known fact that almost all the sports bodies at various levels in the country have one or the other politician as their president or at best (for the game and the players ! Lol !) a working/stand-in president as is the case with AIFF (All India Football Federation) ;Mr. Praful Patel (Minister os State for Civil Aviation) is the working president for AIFF. Shouldn't we have more sportspersons (having represnted at the national and international levels) in the management team to look after the players with more reason, care for them, nurture them, build their confidence, help them excel at the highest level? Why is it that most of these bodies are headed by some civil servant who knows nothing about the sport let alone the plight of players therein? I propose a management team with a mix of level headed people(beaureaucrats, politicians, coporates, etc.) and sportspersons(not to say they are not level headed!) who have brought laurels to the country in their respective fields in their respective capacities.
Thirdly, ignorance, awareness and the role of celebrities ! In a country where everything right from a Rs. 5/- a unit Parle-G to a mammoth airline thrives on 'hero worship', the role of a person enjoying a celebrity status can be harnessed to benefit anything and everything not to exclude a sport like football. A lot can be done through a plethora of media such as films, exhibition matches, sponsorships, etc. just to name a few. BUT, it is seldom witnessed that a celebrity goes to the stadia to watch a football match or say a volleyball match, for that matter. It was indeed heartwarming to see one such man(name is irrelevant and insignificant kyunki 'insaan naam me mazhab dhoondhne lagta hai (remember "A Wednesday"!)') watch the India-Syria football final match and clap for and back his country's gems(on the football ground), to say the least. More of such contribution and care and responsible behavior is expected off the people synonymous with no less than God in this country.
I can recall a couplet that sounds pertinent to the occasion,
Manzilein unhi ko milti hain jinke sapnon mein jaan hoti hai,
Pankh se kuchh nahi hota, hauslon se udaan hoti hai.
Jai Hind !