|Written by Shireen Shah|
|Monday, 23 July 2012 13:19|
Once considered a hotbed of footballing talent in the whole country, Dehradun’s football culture has indeed fallen on lean days. Official apathy and lack of good facilities and incentives means that football is now almost wholly restricted to weekend enthusiasts. However thanks to ONGC, football fever is gripping Doon again.
The B.S. Negi Memorial Football tournament is being organized by ONGC at the Dr. Ambedkar Stadium on Kaulagarh Road. This tournament will be held from 19th to the 31st of July. On 19th, the official inauguration of the tournament and the first match took place in front of an appreciable crowd of local football enthusiasts.
The chief guest for the inauguration was Mr. Dinesh Aggarwal, the Sports Minister of Uttarakhand. Also present were various high ranking officers of ONGC and former member of the legislative assembly Mr. Jot Singh Gunsola.
Speaking on the occasion, the sports minister assured everyone present that the government will take steps to revitalize the football scene in Doon.
The tournament has been wholly sponsored by ONGC and carries a winner’s kitty of Rs. 70000 with the runners up team getting Rs. 35000. Also, the ‘Player of the Tournament’ will be presented with a bike. The tournament is being staged in a knockout format with 28 teams from Dehradun participating. In the fray are the old clubs like Doon Star, CT Young, Akranta, Vijay Cantt, Cantt Blues, Eleven Star and Sunderwala Boys along with new clubs like JA Boys, Gorkha Ranger and Thakurpur XI.
The inaugural match of the tournament was played between Sunderwala Boys and Thakurpur XI in which Sunderwala Boys whitewashed Thakurpur 5-0.
Football enthusiasts around the city hope that such tournaments are held more often to encourage young footballers. Speaking to DehradunBuzz, Rajat Basnet, who plays as a forward for JA Boys said, “It is really encouraging for us when someone organizes a tournament of this scale in Doon. We hope more such tournaments are organized so that budding footballers get to showcase their talent. Also, the government should take more interest in promoting the sport.”
For a city that has produced a number of national team players in football, the government apathy towards the game is despicable and disappointing. We hope the state government awakens from its stupor before talented footballers migrate to other states in search of greener pastures.