It was the quietest New Year eve night and one of the best. I grew up with the idiom ––silence is golden and as I grew I came across another one by Salman Rushdie in one of his books– silence is the ancient language of defeat. I realised last week that silence was bliss.
A lot happens in a year and a lot is expected in another. Expectations leave emotions in a pool which can whirl anyway so I decided to leave aside expectation and look at the swirl sports can take in 2018.
A sport is beautiful –and not just football–l because it is basically about emotions and that is why different sports appeal to different people. Cut out emotions from sports and you cut out the fan. The link is plain.
Let us begin the year looking at what sports have to offer sportspeople and they on their part, to fans in Goa.
Goa is scheduled to host the National games at the end of this year. If the finances are in place, I am sure the stadia’s will be ready because in Chimulkar, not just Sports Authority of Goa (SAG) but Goa has an engineer who not only understands infrastructure but , the structure of a Goan mind. The stadium will be in place and hopefully effort will be put to get sports people ready for the big event which was originally to be hosted two years back. Sports in Goa would have been on a different platform if the SAG had more people akin to Chimulkar in it.
The hosting of the National Games will surely be one of the main sports event in Goa after the success of the U-17 World Cup held last year.
The year will also be a good year for football because the elections to the Goa Football Association (GFA) is due in July and it will be one election eagerly awaited by football lovers because football is in such a mess that change is what most are looking for. A change not based on rhetoric but which touches the players and the clubs involved in the growth of the game.
There has been a sudden interest in games little heard of in the past or little seen. Kabaddi has taken a leap forward; badminton is doing and so are some other sports, including football with the start of the League culture involving them.
Television is a good road to money and that road is being widely exploited by many sports in India. It started with IPL and though other sports are far from reaching such heights, players are getting a scent of the money sports can bring in.
But, with the money, there are some frailties too. Like, Associations try to break up; factions are formed and a war to gain recognition breaks out and the focus then shifts on those who hold the reins of recognition .
The recognition fracas has been going on in Goa in 2017 and will continue in 2018 because the people who control the bodies that grant recognition are unfortunately not above board. It is a pity but pity does not last .
Personally, I would shift my focus on three players as days in 2018 turn into nights. I am talking about Anurag Mhamal, Anura Prabhudessai and Bhakti Kulkarni . They practise in a team but play as individuals and all three reached the peaks in their individual sports because of their hard work. The trio of sports in Goa are capable of going higher because they never tire of trying harder.
There are other sportspeople in the horizon and this does not mean that they are not capable of climbing higher than these three. There could be sports people who go for greater conquests and achieve the same with the least of publicity or media glare and the more that happens, the better.
This could be the year that FC Goa establishes itself into the hearts of many football fans in Goa. I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic because Sergio Lobera has been doing a good job. For once, the marketing is being done on the field in the ninety minutes and that is what football or any sport is all about. Consistency will help and the ability to tweak changes – when the need arises – will help more.
Before the start of the U-17 World Cup there were strong currents suggesting that the PMO wanted to have a fanfare for the opening of the tournament in the capital. FIFA’s message was simple- the opening and closing ceremonies are the ninety minutes on the field and I personally believe that is where the emphasis should be in any sport.
There are still many people who want to frill sports because that is the easiest way for them to make a quick buck. Fortunately we have entered an age where the truth can be easily discerned from half-truths and lies are not appetising anymore.
2018 could be the year that will keep the scavengers away from sports.