Children’s Academy’s (Malad) 0-6 drubbing at the hands of St Stanislaus ‘B’ in the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) U-12 hockey knockout match at the St Stanislaus Ground yesterday raised many eyebrows considering the Malad school’s senior team is a dominant force in schools hockey. 

A Children’s Academy (Malad) player (second from left) is disappointed even as three St Stanislaus players celebrate one of their six goals in their U-12 MSSA tie at St Stanislaus ground in Bandra yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan

Later, coach Marzban ‘Bawa’ Patel explained that his team was participating only to ensure the tournament was not scrapped. As per MSSA guidelines, a tournament is cancelled if there are fewer than eight participating schools for boys and six for girls. In this tournament, there were only seven schools and had Patel not fielded his team at the last minute, the competition would not have been held.

“I was in Pune last week with the school’s U-16 team for a private hockey tournament. So, on returning, I randomly picked this set of boys to play this tournament. They are an inexperienced lot, so this result is on expected lines. I fielded this team only because I love hockey too much and did not want this tournament to be cancelled,” said Patel, who has coached a host of Olympians and internationals including Adrian D’Souza, Gavin Ferreira, Viren Rasquinha, Yuvraj Walmiki, etc

MSSA hockey secretary Sarah Alphonso explained: “Originally there were nine entries for this tournament but since Don Bosco (Matunga) and St Stanislaus fielded two teams (A & B) there were only seven schools — Don Bosco (Matunga) St Stanislaus (Bandra), Our Lady Of Dolours (Marine Lines), Don Bosco (Borivli), St Anne’s (Malad),
St Dominic Savio (Andheri) and Rustomjee (Dahisar) — in the fray. MSSA general secretary (Sebastian Fernandes) then informed me that we must have a minimum eight schools to keep the tournament going. That’s when I called Patel, who immediately assured his team’s participation.” Meanwhile, Keval Vora scored a brace while Kris Albuquerque, Zaif Jacob, Aniket Sawant and Dale Verhoven added a goal each for St Stanislaus.