Corporate Social Negligence!

Memoirs of a great footballing spectacle: Santosh Trophy

Posted in Football, India, Kerala, Punjab, Santosh Trophy, soccer, sports by clash on June 3, 2008

I grew up hearing the names of clubs like Premier Tyres, Titanium, Cochin Port Trust and all those great Malayalee footballers who crossed the state boundaries to set the Calcutta grounds ablaze. I am ashamed that I can only recollect a few of them. That quite reflects the state of football in India. Kerala lifted its first Santosh Trophy in 1973, which turned out to be a necessary boost to this popular form of sport in Kerala.

But that was long back and those stories were turning out to be bit monotonous in the early 90’s. We needed more heroes to associate with and thus emerged Kerala Police, a team full of excellent footballers and future Indian internationals. Every dive by a goal-keeper was compared to K.T.Chakco, the famous goal keeper, every trick to that of Vijayan’s and every defenders block to late V.P. Sathayan’s. They broke in to the scene in the late 80’s and Kerala football reached its zenith with these individuals helping the state bring back the Santosh Trophy in 1992 and then again in 1993. Every village corner which attracted a sizeable crowd discussed the marvelous feats of this team. The lazy hours that always accompany monsoons were filled with dampness and stories about tackles, kicks and searing runs.

Kerala Police had a host of talented players and most of them donned Indian Jersey. Though Vijayan was the most celebrated among them – there was Paappachan, Sharaf Ali, K.T.Chacko and host of others who were equally magnificent players.

My only gadget to gather news was a rickety Murphy radio but that was in no way a dampener to my footballing spirit. I used rush back from school to tune in the live commentary that used to be aired by AIR during the matches. Watching football matches and listening to them have a great deal of difference. Watching more or less offered a 3 – dimensional spectacle, while listening always felt to be a linear but gripping experience. Linear in a sense that a good commentator can make you run along the flanks while Paappachan made those searing runs through the flanks in the real game. Skipping my usual bout of dust raking madness in the near by field, I used to get stuck in front of my radio; to say the least, enthralled.

It was a rewarding experience;Kerala brought back trophies in those years- 1992 and 1993.  Even though Santosh trophy eluded the state for another 7 years, Kerala constantly made their presence in Indian Footballing scene after the 1992 and 1993 victories. Football definitely had shot back to limelight in the local news papers and media. The sad part of the story is that officials in Kerala never capitalized the chance to promote the game. People who devoted their life to the game were never rewarded and many a talents went astray in due course. There are many names in the list, which might stuff up the space for another post.

In 2008 situations are different. Bob Houghton has called to scrap these antiquated tournaments. He wants us to improve players in different age groups, which he thinks, will earn us better mileage for a world cup qualification. I understand the importance of a world cup qualification and the kind of impact it can create for a sport like football in India.

Santosh Trophy still provides an excellent stage to show case skills of players from different states. With a population of over 1 billion, it will be very premature on our part to think that football has its support only in the traditional power houses. And we comfortably forget those pockets which produced immaculate footballers before the current power houses developed. A look at the list of winners of Santosh Trophy will prove that football was not essentially a sport confined to some states. Other states too were formidable powers in football but they were neglected to the ebb that it almost took us to the death of this sport in these states. There are football fans in different states who will be eagerly waiting to see their teams perform in Santosh Trophy. With 31 states appearing in this edition of Santosh trophy, this will witness the emergence of some good players from states other than Bengal, Manipur, Punjab, Kerala and Goa.

In addition with an I-league which doesn’t quite represent the whole of India, this is one of the very few chances available for football players from different states to show case their skills. It is very important for us to make football a pan Indian sport than something that is restricted to some pockets. Santosh Trophy is such a tournament, if projected well, could provide a good boost to our footballing scene. Regional jingoistic feelings could very well be tapped for a good cause.

7 Responses

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  1. eapen said, on June 15, 2008 at 2:41 am

    Do you know if there was a P.J. Joseph in 1973 Kerala team?

    • Titus Francis said, on September 9, 2009 at 2:41 pm

      Do you also know there was a K.P.Williams also , who was the darling of the crowd.

      • clash said, on September 21, 2009 at 1:39 pm

        Sorry, i am not much aware of yesteryear footballers from Kerala. My memory and knowledge is limited to the Kerala police era, which was the best periods of kerala football during my existence till.

  2. clash said, on June 15, 2008 at 8:20 am

    I am not too sure about this.

  3. StatsRock said, on February 24, 2010 at 5:46 am

    wonderful post. I have been trying to recollect what I can of the late 80s, early 90s in indian football. Please check this one if it interests you

  4. Ravi Menon said, on July 1, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Remember the commentry in radio, Ippol panthu Jacobinte kayyilanu, jacob williamsinu pass cheythu, williams manoharanu pass cheythu, manoharan jacobinu pass chythu, jacob manikku pass cheythu and Goal

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