Banned St Joseph's coach allowed to watch MSSA match from stands

Despite being slapped with a one-year ban by the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA), St Joseph's High School's (Wadala) coach Jesus Desa was spotted on the sidelines of their boys' U-16 Division I inter-school football match against Don Bosco 'A' (Matunga) on Saturday, which they lost 1-2.

St Joseph's coach Jesus Desa (centre) walks on the Azad Maidan ground yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan
St Joseph's coach Jesus Desa (centre) walks on the Azad Maidan ground yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan 

Clivert Miller and Shreyas Sail scored for Don Bosco while Amman Mullani scored for the Wadala school. MSSA banned Desa after they found him and his assistant coach Avinash guilty of playing two players, who were not registered with MSSA, in the U-14 competition last season. As per MSSA rules, during the ban period, the coaches cannot enter the MSSA premises even as a spectator.

When asked how a banned coach could enter the premises, MSSA's Hon General Secretary Sebastian Fernandes presented an absurd reason that the coach was allowed as no mediapersons, who knew about the ban, were present at the venue. He said, "Since the team didn't have another coach, Jesus requested me that he be allowed to watch the match from the sidelines.

Since there was no media present when he entered the premises, I let him enter the field. I cannot let this happen always. Today was just an exception. Sometimes, for the sake of kids we need to soften our stand."

St Joseph's coach Desa lamented the manner in which MSSA functions. "Last season, MSSA informed us that only the U-14 team will be demoted to Division II from Division I and there will be no action taken against the coaches.

But when the school re-opened, it was shocking to receive a letter saying that both Avinash and I have been banned for a year. I will clarify with Sebastian (Fernandes) about MSSA's rules regarding the ban soon."

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