Corporate Social Negligence!

Indian Football – Where do we go now?

Posted in Football, India, Indian Football, soccer, sports by clash on November 22, 2010

Suddenly, it looks like everyone is throwing their toys out of the pram. The media, supporters and former footballers alike are having a go at the Indian football team now. Our English coach, Bob Houghton found this coming and has tried to side step by making his plans obvious – quit after the Asian Cup.

AIFF in fact did literally set up circus tent, when they planned to pull out 30 established players to prepare for the upcoming Asian cup in Qatar. Little did they know their one and half year dedicated program is  not going to earn results. Now, it should be quite clear to them after the thorough drubbing from some premier Asian teams.

Before jumping on to the criticizers’ band wagon, there are some facts that need to pondered upon. First of all, the plan of leasing out established players from clubs to prepare for Asian Cup was not essentially a wonderful idea. There are nations that have implemented such programs, but that involves thorough planning and dedication. As things go, we know how our football federation works.

Selecting 30 players have literally shut out options for other upcoming and better performing players being selected in to this esteemed coterie. This means, some old, experienced and injured players went for conditioning camp in Portugal, and now they are back playing some international friendlies, needless to say losing some of the matches in huge margins.

Talking about friendlies, how many of them have we played now? From the month of October onwards we have played nations like Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Yemen and recently Iraq, UAE and Kuwait. There should not be much of surprise that the team is loosing on bigger margins now. They are definitely tired and that is no surprise with a not so fit a team and some aging legs in the group.

While the idea to group 30 odd players for Asia Cup would have been Houghton’s brain child but the execution part of it has been totally screwed up the federation. Otherwise they would not have arranged so many friendlies, especially with premier teams within such a time frame. It also points out that one and a half year is hardly enough to prepare for a competition of this sort.

So where do we go now? Actually, these results don’t come as a surprise. Other than the odd Nehru Cup win and the AFC challenge Cup, this team hardly has any international experience. All of a sudden they are thrust in to a tizzy world of friendlies and the team is definitely finding it difficult to live up to these situations.

What they now need is a breather. They have to pick themselves up from the drubbings they got from the teams like Kuwait and UAE. The AIFF on the other hand is expecting better performances from the team in the Asian Cup. An official said that the team is going to learn from these defeats and as a part of the continuous improvement they are expecting better results. Mind you, we are grouped with the likes of Bahrain and Australia. Expecting anything better might put day dreaming to shame. So let us not.

If there is something that we can learn from this, it is that one and half year is not enough to build a winning football team. It involves dedication and thorough grooming over a larger period of time.

Criticizing the manager and players, I feel is not the right way to go. You could have differences with Bob and his style. Personally, I am not a big fan of the style of play he espouses. I thoroughly feel disinterested when I see our players pining long balls in to opposition half, where we hardly win a header or win possession.

I also don’t buy in to coaches like Nayeemuddin and his bleating about how a foreign coach gets all that he wants in terms of foreign tours, friendlies and sorts. Bob simply has the authority or knack to work his way through a not so friendly federation who are strapped for cash. If  Nayeem could not earn all the facilities and tours he wanted, it was simply because he could not convince them or could not make his way forward with the Association. There is no point in bleating away now.

We should not be expecting miracles in the upcoming Asian Cup, instead if we can focus on the further growth even after the tournament by adding some fresh players to the select 30 and continue, we might earn results in the coming years. We should not be expecting that to happen, after all this was project Asia Cup. In our parlance, that strictly will only be for Asia Cup and nothing more than that. Wait and watch for how many more years will we have to wait for another friendly after our Asia Cup appearance.

Kerala Volleyball League (KVL)

Posted in India, Kerala, Kozhikkode, sports by clash on November 18, 2009

Kerala Volleyball League (KVL) is here.

The advert is a decent one with pathetic  music. Inspite of all these, kudos goes to Volleyball association of kerala. At least they are striving to make something happen and that clearly is a different path, compared to their other counterparts.

Mamooty obviously adds to the glamor quotient.  Now, if he is what the game really lacked, then let him be there. I don’t really care.

I read about the format in which it is going to appear. 9 days, 16 matches and live telecast, that doesn’t sound bad at all.  It is happening in Kozhikode means, crowd is a sure bet for a match held under flood lights.  So the organizers don’t really have to bother about that.  Probably some more intense campaign through the FM Radios  that litter the air space with all kind of tosh at the moment in Kerala will help.

Anyway i am eagerly waiting for KVL to happen. There is a lot of potential to be tapped in sports other than cricket. If it is packaged well, i am sure it will happen. Fingers crossed!!

To cater to market demands, Indian international volleyballers like Kishore Kumar has changed their looks, which they think will attract more youngsters to this game.

He says ;  “We have to package ourselves better. Everybody is excited about the new league, suddenly all the players are charged up. And since actor Mammootty is the league’s brand ambassador, we will have big crowds since he has thousands of fans in Kozhikode and Malappuram.”

The game also has it fans!

Stupid hacks and India’s bid for 2016 Olympics

Posted in China, CNN-IBN, Delhi, dream, Football, India, Indian Football, Kerala, Kozhikkode, Newspaper, politics, soccer, sports by clash on October 4, 2009

I seriously cant weigh up my sense of frustration every other time i watch Sekhar Gupta, Swapandas Gupta, Chandan Mitra and of course maudlin Barkha Dutt and their counterparts appear on screen, giving their opinions on various issues. Off-late, i have felt that these hacks and their visual media counter parts hijack any issue of national interest in their favor and of course a lot people who watch these shows, take them and their opinions for granted.

Mind you, all these buggers have an agenda and they are very committed to their cause.  When i saw Abhinav Bindra, the sole gold medal winner for our country in Olympics and Sekhar Gupta, Chandan Mitra and Abhishek  Singhvi sitting together and debating in NDTV about our supposed Olympics bid for 2016, i was quite interested to see, what these hacks were blathering.  And in no sense they failed to arrest the ever increasing disgust in me towards them. The so called audience for the debate was also pathetic, mostly for all the debates, that is the case of  “audience”.

While Abhinav Bindra , as any other sensible sports person in India made very good sense when he argued that we need to invest those millions which would go in to the construction of  world class stadiums, arenas, fly-overs and airports in to our sports system to better it and create a system which is well-working and raise the standard for our sports from grassroots level.

The sole politician who appeared on the show, went up in arms against him saying that bidding for Olympics and creating a good atmosphere for the promotion of sports is not mutually exclusive.  Yeah, not mutually exclusive! But for the past 60 years or so, the sports policy in the nation has not been inclusive at all. Everyone knows that  and how badly we had to play up our sole gold medal winning performance in Olympics to cater to our inflated egos.

The hacks went a bit further in their arguments, they said we should bid for Olympics, you know why?  Yeah, we will have good roads, fly-overs, airports and stadiums that will come up.  I wonder if Olympics is all about sports or about wonderful stadiums, arenas, over head metro railway lines or an airport.

Sekhar Gupta and Chandan Mitra were very lucid about their opinions. It doesn’t matter, if we will be able to get more than a gold medal or not, but the bid should go ahead because it will make way for good “infrastructure”. Yeah, these hacks will be vying couple of adverts from these construction magnets .

Isn’t “infrastructure” a very fond of word for these kinds who appear on TV? Yes, it is important, but are we looking at making over-head railway lines that are made on war-footing negligence that buckle and kill several or are we looking at infrastructure that is part of some sensible development pattern?

It is very clear these hacks and their hidden agendas prefer the former way.   They prefer it because, contracts are made with their buddies in the industry who will provide these hacks with adverts which will pump up their profits and of course death due to the negligence/corruption is another opportunity to increase their media share, isn’t it?  To an extent these days,  some of these hacks are terribly subservient to contractors and the filthy rich who after all help their survival.

Anyway, it was very interesting and eye opening to see Sekhar Gupta and Chandan Mitra making their priorities very clear by vying for the contractors. They hardly seem to be bothered about the condition of sports in India. They attributed its pathetic state to the inefficient sporting bodies. Yeah, very easy. It is an easy excuse they make in our country and with that argument they can completely forget about sports and  channel their  interest towards bids for Olympics  and sorts, because they know, if at all Olympics come to India, they can make a meal out of it, even if we win medals or not.

Abhinav Bindra is not a very assertive person, he along with another journalist made their point, that we need to pep up our system so that we can have a decent show if at all we are to hold such an event.  ( Or he couldn’t be assertive with the likes of  Sekhar Gupta and Chandan Mitra, who are conditioned “debate masters” around) He looked like, he wanted to scoot from there as soon as possible.

These hacks who continually appear on our prime time television is the biggest hazard to our integrity and sane opinions that we carry around . They are able to form opinions that is being rallied around by idiotic masses who follow them. They are able to neatly spin our sensibilities so that it conform their hidden agenda, as in this case, Sekhar Gupta and Chandan Mitra tried to bat for the contractors and infrastructure industry.

The audience seemed to have completely immersed in the idea of Olympics happening in their city, their dreams of 8-lane roads in which their cars might zoom without incurring dents and scratches, snazzy airports and some even went up to the extent of asking, if we will be making a lion’s den as China made bird’s nest. Ha, i don’t think i need to say anything more.

We sadly forget the plight of innumerable youngsters who take to sports out of their willingness and some out of necessity (It can earn them a govt job!) We as a nation needs more respect towards these youngsters who are trying to cut a career in streams that are not at all lucrative in our nation. If we have that respect, what we should do is to cater to their interest, help them to achieve more, an Olympic bid is not the right way.

Time for getting more and more specific!

I have small announcement, from now on, i wont be writing any sports related articles here. I will be updating my Bleacher Report blog for the same. I will be reproducing some of those articles here but not often.

Bleacher Report is an interesting place for Sports Writers as it is an open network to blog and socialise over interent. If some of you are interested, you can check it out here.

Mumbai F.C – The new kid on the block; the story so far…

Posted in Football, India, soccer, sports by clash on October 14, 2008

Mumbai F.C is a relatively new club that is setting the i-league on fire. Afinishing their first 3 games, they have defeated the power houses in Indian Football. During this rampage they ran over Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mahindra United; the 3 top clubs in i-league.

Here is their story so far….

An overview of the 2nd edition of i-league so far.

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Kalia Kulothongan’s only goal earned Mumbai FC their 3rdwin in the league which took them to the Numero Uno position after 3 matches along with Sporting Club de Goa

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3 cheers to them…

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For a newbie in the National Scene, it was quite stunning!

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Oh.. yeah, of course they are the giant killers now!

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It is not the usual newspapers that are spreading the vibes; here Business Standard goes ga ga about a club supported by Essel group.

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3 straight wins against 3 big shots is no easy task !

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One among the 3 big shots: East Bengal, no mean feat!

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Team spirit is an undeniable quality that every winning team possess and Mumbai FC are not short of it in any terms!

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Bimal Ghosh is a man who leads a quiet revolution in Indian Football. There is a team that has hardly dropped off from the national scene but somehow doesn’t generate much news – Air India. This astute man seems to be happy for Mumbai FC

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Mumbai Boys have quiet rocked Kolkota now. The again only 3 matches are over; it is far too early to predict anything. Let me remind you, this is a just an attempt to celebrate the entry of new kid in the block and their current winning streak! But the article is quite rhetoric!

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The man behind the show: David Booth has his legs firmly grounded even after toppling East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

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Yes they did overpower East Bengal!

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The man behind the scene; David Booth wants more of this :

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Very rarely would you find the so called beacons of our society these days; the television news channels, finding time for Indian Football. Now, it seems Mumbai FC has finally caught their attention. Hope they don’t end up conducting candlelight vigils for the Kolkota clubs. Here goes a report from NDTV

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I seriously had a quintal load of hopes on Mohun Bagan this season, but seems like they are faltering big time.

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The man behind the scene David Booth about tactics and sorts :

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Player ratings for the East Bengal match :

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Twins from Malappuram a district in Kerala which has produced a host of Indian internationals are enjoying a good stint with Mumbai FC. They are the right role models for any aspiring football professional from Kerala. Anees and Aseem, who are raking up good ratings for their performances for Mumbai FC have traveled quite a lot, for a footballer in India. From Goa they have hopped to Mumbai, where they seem to have settled in now. Kudos to Hindustan Times for carrying this story.

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Oh.. yeah a rude jolt for Bagan.

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Shock!

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Timely reminder right at the beginning of the league for Karim and his boys.

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Player ratings for the Bagan match:

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Mumbai FC definitely did not turn up to be an easy opponent

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Mumbai outfits hoped to tilt the balance of power. Mumbai FC now seems to have strengthened the feeling a bit more

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Mumbai FC with the support of Essel group has big plans. Stadiums, academy and so on.

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For all the action from I-league and daily new dosage of Indian football book mark this link available here.

Monika Devi’s story is a primer of what is wrong with Indian Sports and its authorities.

Posted in India, politics, sports by clash on August 21, 2008

For me, India at Beijing Olympics is not all about the medals that we managed to get this time. When India is poised to make a record haul in the Olympics,there are other stories that we tend to forget in the ensuing euphoria and one of them is Monika Devi’s. In every article that is  churned out by the press, she is referred to as a medal hope and if something was to happen, it could have been this Olympics. Unfortunately the sports authorities of India never allowed her to participate in the Beijing Olympics, framing false allegations of doping.

Dejected!

Dejected!

Though this controversy has conjured up a vile and vicious regionalistic hue, it is of no wonder that it happened so.  The north-eastern states are a power house in Indian sports except cricket and this very reason makes me admire them. Manipur; a small state among the seven-north eastern states have produced weightlifters, archers and footballers galore.  The Indian system has unfortunately failed to reward them for any of these achievements. There is no good sports infrastructure or good stadiums in  north east. The economic backwardness that prevail in these states means, there has been no private or government initiatives to help these sports persons. And on top, from the mainland if we try to torpedo their spirit by framing false allegations, they feel unwanted and cheated.

What they need is not didactic dissertations by people like L.K.Advani about the strong and vibrant Hindu culture of Manipur but an urgency to create a sense of belonging in them towards India .These kind of manipulations that our corrupt , lazy politicians and bureaucrats orchestrate will only alienate these states from the Indian system. If India  is aspiring to be a force to reckon with in sports, North-east undoubtedly has a integral role to play in it.  The U-16 Indian football team has 8 players from Lajong FC, a north -eastern football club, that is the kind of influence they have on our sports.

While every news papers goes ga-ga over Abhinav Bindra and the rest who managed to win medals we tend forget the real picture and Monika Devi’s situation is a blow up of that real picture. Monika Devi is not the only one who is crying foul over the Olympic selections, there has been some archers too, who have questioned the selection procedures and in the past we have heard innumerable allegations against these associations and their working. The reasons for these omissions are rarely public, the sports associations seems to be some omnipotent organisations that are never wilted by allegations and sadly our law seems to be terribly inadequate  to bring them liable for India’s dismal performances every other time. Going by Indian standrards and norms, Monika might have got the  boot  so as to fit in the family of  an association’s chief; China indeed is a “cheap and affordable” shopping destination.  All these years officials have outnumbered the participants for any international sporting event. (Not very sure, but as the saying goes ….) All they did is while away time in these foreign countries, do loads of shopping and return without any medals.

India’s campaign is almost nearing an end in Beijing Olympics and it seems like we will make a record haul of 3 medals. A befitting achievement for all the shopping done at the expense of all the tax payers money. Before you plan to applaud or go berserk over these outstanding performances, please remember, we have a population of over 1 billion. It is our duty; not to ride this false wave of euphoria that our media and politicians are trying to push down our throat.  There are hundreds of Monika Devi’s around us and these associations should be held accountable for the sheer neglect that has happened in our sports.  There are valiant stories of a bus driver who put in extra hours to gather money for his training and the village boy from Haryana who manged to miss the medal by a whisker. Stories of these genres occupied spaces in the past too. Has anything changed for good? Nothing much.

Before wrapping up, this is not any attempt to discredit the immense figthing spirit shown by these atheletes in overcoming the neglect and emerge victorious in the Olympics. These are a few cautionary words to those who are simmering with pride and riding the hoopla. If we are to excel there should not be any Monika Devis in Indian sport anymore and i am not that optimistic. If time allows, read this article and do some introspection, before going ga-ga over India’s performance.

An interesting thought!

Posted in India, politics, sports by clash on July 25, 2008

This article in the link that follows :  (Link) speak about a great Idea. From the outset, It is just an extrapolation of a sport aficionado’s optimism. He speaks about the association of Royal Bengal Tigers; an ICL team with Hourah Union and then wishes on about a lot that could happen in Indian sports, if things went the right way.

Our history in sports and related areas is quite pathetic, for me to accept this extrapolated optimism of the author. I will be one among the happiest, if such a thing happens. Lets hope for the best.

Again, a country with over a billion population is sending an entourage of 57 freaking athletes to Olympics. Media, at least online media has done their share of publicity stunts for some Indian athletes ( i saw some articles about pugilists in Rediff). But our “honorable”  President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Suresh Kalmadi has forewarned us as not to expect any miracles in the games. Lets leave out our “honorable” minister for sports, who is quite vocal and verbose while at work. He is quite a busy bee putting up a show by inviting Real Madrid for another inconsequential friendly match in India, which will then occupy a lot of space in the internet in terms of 1,20,000 attendance in India for a Real Madrid match and so on. It is not going to be a turning point in history.

Athletes have cried foul in the selection procedure and there goes a shiver down my  spine while  I think  of Indian weight lifting team… the question is, how many are going to get caught for doping, such is the show off late. Lets not talk about hockey, Mr.. Gill, the sports minister valiantly made remark that Indian hockey wont crumble, after Charles Worth quit, i wonder if there anything more to crumble….

Our system is in shambles, despotic and corrupt bureaucrats rule the roost. Some chiefs of the associations have been sitting there for quite a long time now, they are not held accountable for any of these debacles and malfunctioning that is so bare in front of us.

I wont write, “it is time for us to wake up and destroy these structures” because, i think “ellathinum oru samayamundu dasa”

Buildings or Playgrounds? Let us vote…. (A debate about kerala)

Posted in Uncategorized by clash on May 10, 2008

I think my neighbors hate me because I still venture in to the old ground where children still manage to rake up some dust playing football and cricket. I was a regular there; I studied my lessons of football, cricket and kabbadi (a bit of all these with football being the loved) from that open space. A large portion of me mentally and physically existed there for quite a while in my life. It was an open space – privately held, largely neglected – around 1.75 acres. Though, it dint see the birth of an international athlete or a footballer, I am quite sure, most of the youngsters in around my neighborhood played and honed their skills there. To its credit, it can always boast a hoard of district league level footballers practicing there.

I strolled on to that same ground, when I visited home last weekend. I was choked, it is surrounded by concrete buildings on all possible sides – new and old alike they appeared to be some kind of monsters; up for gobbling something. On them perched all my neighbors with their vicious eyes carefully monitoring the kids and players, each time the ball rose high up in the air, they hurled derisive shouts. Ball games are always a menace, many a times the ball crosses forbidden borders, they break windows and cast huge dirt marks on the costly emulsion covered walls and at times knock you down with a blow. It won’t kill; I am sure it won’t.

These kind of cloistered grounds dot every corner and every village in Kerala. Open spaces like these serves as a measuring ground for the civic sense a literate Malayalee hold. The derisive comments that fling from the neighboring compounds may put your whole family lineage at stake. Right from great- grand fathers to you; no one is spared. If you are determined and don’t give a damn about this, some people even gather courage to spill broken glass pieces and metal shreds in the ground. People playing football rarely play without boots these days. They harass children by telling that they will complaint to the authorities. I am sure; the governmental agencies will be too keen to keep the kids scared.

Waste lands and dried up paddy fields have always catered to the needs of the local children as a play ground. Come summer and you will find loads of sports enthusiasts playing and watching games in these open spaces or at least this was a spectacle some years back. Space has drastically dwindled, waste lands have been encroached and paddy fields have been filled up for construction. It was a Houdini act, it just was disappearing, you could feel it, every other day space dwindling – another building eating up that precious space. The feeling was drab and cold, I felt the good air, and the visual peace and that happy feeling of an open sky were consumed by these buildings. A decade back or so, the neighboring house was a mile ahead from our compound’s boundary; today it is hardly 20 feet. I feel voyeur-ed and stripped; it feels horrible. I hear, there is something called a ‘land mafia” in Kerala, the word is omnipresent, it gleams in television, it is in print and in the radio. The minister, the local politician and my neighborhood barber laments about the mafia. But who are they? Are they the one who are gobbling up the space? If so, why aren’t they visible? It is a helpless situation, a situation where the kids are confined to concrete spaces; there are no games other than cycling on the tarred roads and street cricket or worse, the computer games that stifle any physical exercise.

This scorching summer is no difference; there are kids out in the sun, indefatigable and vivacious as ever. There are still a few, a few wretched of the earth wanting some space to sweat it out than being in the cool comforts of a concrete mansion. The mantra of a spotless, tan-less skin has not yet caught up with these children. It is not the same anymore, most of the wear proper football boots and jerseys. It is not anymore the era of shirts with names written with varnish or the left over window paint. Football is also not the same; there are more and more trickeries on the field. The kind of influence Christiano Ronaldo and Manchester united are mustering in the age of TV is astounding. But there is one thing that is missing – play grounds.

Here comes the Honorable (??) sports minister of Kerala, who during the inauguration of Vision India Program in Kozhikkode has rallied for securing 10,000 playgrounds and 1000 stadiums within 3 years of time. I don’t know what made him make such a comment, who prompted him? The ever lambasting and didactic intelligentsia in Kerala, have they recognized the need for play grounds? Will they ever publish articles in magazines quoting Derrida, Kant and Foucault analyzing the need for play grounds or will they dismiss it as another attempt of invasion by the flourishing culture industry? I am not too sure, but the Communist lineage which gives quite an emphasis on discipline and sporting activities is eroding for sure. Till now, the strong network of Government Schools provided the state with its share of sporting heroes. The Kerala state school Sports meet is a still a spectacle with intense media attention and evaluation. Again, Government schools are on the back foot; private schools are cropping up every where and we all know what happens to sports over there in these private schools.

Now that our young comrades in SFI have lost out completely to their elderly members who are lapping up with all the “community” honchos in deciding the future of education, they can very well take up this issue. Education is gone to the dogs, at least fight for some play grounds or prevent them from being gobbled up by the land mafia. A worthwhile cause to fight for and if the present government keeps their promise of securing 10,000 playgrounds and 1000 stadiums or at least half the number, I will vote for them hands down in the next elections.

Here is a crude poll, a crude one that might put all of you in trouble. But, i still think a play ground is better than a moronic concrete structure.