Ramchandra B Jirage, former sports director who played a pivotal role alongside the then sports minister Francisco Monte Cruz in constructing the Fatorda Stadium in record time, passed away this week at the age of 83, leaving a big void which will be hard to fill.
During his more than two-decade long tenure, Jirage came across as one of the most effective and much loved administrators in the Goan sports arena. He was a very humble, down to earth person; a sports lover to the core who would dedicate himself completely towards the betterment of sports.
Some of those, who followed him over the years and also seen the recent developments in sports infrastructure in the state, are of the view that the seeds of today’s world class sporting facilities in Goa were sown during Jirage’s tenure.
Jirage has created lasting impression in the hearts and minds of Goan sports lovers and he will surely be remembered for his invaluable contributions made to Goan sports.
Dempo SC president and former GFA head Shrinivas Dempo remembers Jirage as a very dedicated person who loved sport.
“I remember him since my school days. He was a very dedicated prerson who loved sport,” Dempo said.
“As a sports director, at that time, he did a lot for sports in Goa particularly for sports like badminton, table tennis, football and also cricket.
“He played a very active role in administrating indoor stadium complex. He got very good coaches for indoor stadiums and also tried to improve the facilities,” he added.
“Also when the then honourable sports minister Monte Cruz built the Fatorda Stadium under the leadership of Mr Rane, he was very very instrumental as the director of sports to build the stadium in record time. I think he has played a fundamental role for development of sports in Goa,” Dempo said.
“Jirage held various posts like executive director of SAG, director of sports, and later after the retirement, he was in Bal Bhavan,” Savio Messias, former general secretary of GFA, said.
“And while he was in sports department, he was very very active and effective. It was during his tenure that the Fatorda stadium came up. And another notable thing is during his tenure he began acquiring grounds for various school sports activities. He started acquiring various open areas for grounds, and that’s one of the reasons why we got a lot of grounds. Nowadays to acquire land is very very difficult. Many of these grounds came up because they were acquired during that time. That has been a great assistance for Goa now. He did lot of good for sports. He was more effective than I would say many of the directors. He was very sports friendly.”
Vero Nunes, president of Goa Table Tennis Association (GTTA), on his part said, “Jirage was a good administrator. He had put lots of systems in place for sports in Goa. He was really a good administrator.”
“Jirage was among few people who were always helpful in taking up the sports to certain level, especially him and Mr Mali.,” Narahar Thakur, president of Goa Badminton Association, said as he remembered the veteran administrator who died at the age of 83.
“He was a down to earth person and was always helpful. Whatever infrastructure we had in those days, we called them stadiums but in reality they were not the stadiums but multipurpose halls. He was one of the persons who was responsible for having these infrastructure there. And whatever the infrastructure existed, they were always kept open for the associations and the people involved in sports. He was a nice, understanding and helpful person. His children played badminton too and his grandson also represented India at junior level.”
Lovino Gomes, Mess In-charge of SAI, said, “My association with Jirage was in early 90s when he was the director of sports and our hostel was in Campal stadium. He was very cooperative. In fact, when the children were staying in the dormitories on the top, he used to make it a point to come and visit the dormitories and see that everything is in order; fans are working, proper water supply is provided etc. He was always a positive person wanting to do something. He would never think negative.”