The writer recognises the support and contribution of the corporate sector in helping Goa’s sports culture to flourish
Goa was liberated in 1961 and under the leadership of late Dayanand Bandodkar (Bhausaheb), Goa started progressing in the fields of sports and games. Private companies like Dempo, Chowgule, Salgaocars, Timblo, etc, began to promote a sports culture in Goa by starting football and cricket clubs in the state. Football tournaments like Taca Goa, Police Cup, Bandodkar Gold Cup, Chowgule Trophy (cricket) were some of the important tournaments played after Liberation.
Goa has been known for its rich sports culture and people love to play, it has produced a large number of national, international and Olympian representations in our country as well as other nations. Our first chief minister laid the foundations for the first football stadium in Panaji and being an ardent cricket lover started the first cricket ground alongside the football stadium at Campal, the Panaji Gymkhana and the MCC ground at Margao as there was a need for good infrastructure and facilities for the players. The formation of the Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs under the leadership of Srimad Mali boosted sports activities in Goa as he initiated a number of sports activities at school and higher secondary level. However, this proved to be insufficient as there was an abundance of sports talent in Goa and therefore the Sports Authority of Goa (SAG) was formed in the year 1986, which helped the government in establishing sports infrastructure and facilities for promotion of various games and sports which enabled sportsmen and women to participate and put a remarkable show at national and international levels.
Shortage of sports budget, absence of coaching throughout the year and lack of participation were the main hurdles in nurturing the young budding talent from Goa. The need for financial support was felt to train our youngsters.
The corporate sector played a vital role in this area; the involvement of the Dempo company, Chowgule, Timblo, Sesa Goa Academy, Salgaocars, Zeno, etc, has tremendously enhanced the Goan sports field. Adopting the individual players as well as clubs helped the youth to showcase their talent at the national and international level. Players like Bhakti Kulkarni, Ivana Furtado, Aman Mhamal, Nitish Beluskar in chess, Natasha Palha in tennis, Talasha Prabhu in swimming, Amura Prabhudessai in badminton, etc, are fully supported by corporate sectors for their progress and growth in sports. Due to the ample support provided by the government and corporates to these youngsters, they displayed an excellent performance at national as well as international level.
In cricket, the contribution of Chowgules, Salgaocars and Timblos has been commendable and encouraging to the players. The organisation of the Arlem Trophy and Ranji trophy generated interest in the game and inspired Goans to watch national and international personalities. Players like Sandeep Patil, Ravi Shastri, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ashok Malhotra, Pandurang Salgaocar played during the initial days at Arlem ground.
After announcing football as the official game of Goa the ground level programmes were started. Every player and club. The inclusion of large Goan football teams in the ISL professional league in the past has helped the game flourish. The role of the corporate sector in these two major games was remarkable. Some of the leading clubs like Vasco Sports club, Churchill bros, Dempo, Salgaocars and FC Goa have performed remarkably in the field of football. These clubs are amply supported by Sesa Football Academy which established a facility to train players under professional coaches and environment. Geno Sports Club was established in the year 1992 with a purpose to promote cricket, chess, and badminton and the game of soccer in Goa. Under the leadership of Sagar Salgaocar, the club has been doing excellent work by organising tournaments and adopting youngsters for their professional growth as well as felicitating those sportspersons who have achieved laurels in sports. The Geno Awards is a major event to motivate the youngsters.
The Dempo Sports Club added a new feather in the cap of the Dempo Group of Company by establishing a football academy at Old Goa under the leadership of Shrinivas Dempo. Established in 2018, young talented footballers below 14 years of age are selected and invited under the able guidance of professional football coaches. All the youngsters are supported by the company both financially and academically. They also promoted talented Goan players through the ‘Dempo Brand Ambassador’ scheme where players are provided financial help to get professional coaches as well as international training to facilitate participation in national and international levels.
The identification of talents at the right time, proper planning and ample support would help the Goan youth to show their talents at national as well as international level. Hence the role of the corporate sector in this journey is vital and therefore the government of Goa should take the necessary steps for the involvement of the corporate sector in the development of sport and games in the state. The government should frame an effective sports policy whereby the corporate sector also would benefit and will show their positive involvement in this sports revolution. More sports academies need to be established with the help of the corporate sector where the youngsters will be groomed. The day that the state of Goa will play a prominent role at the national and international level, is not far.
(Writer is the director of physical education and sports at Sridora Caculo College of Commerce and Management Studies, Mapusa.)
A scientific conference on Physical Education and Allied Sciences: Holistic Development for Excellence in Sports Performance and Well-Being will be held from February 27 to 29. The Navhind Times is the media partner for the event.