Cooperage Stadium to be ready by December end
In what will surely come as a boost to football in the city, the Cooperage Stadium, which has not hosted a competitive match since 2011, will finally be able to host tournaments from next month.
According to a source, the renovation at the Cooperage will be completed within 15-20 days. While the astroturf, four floodlights and the new spacious dressing rooms are already in place, work to set up the stands is currently underway.
However, WIFA secretary and outgoing MDFA secretary Souter Vaz was a bit more cautious about the deadline. “The stadium will be ready to use by the end of December. When the stadium does get ready, all the Elite Division matches are likely to be held at the Cooperage. The finals of all the lower division matches too will be hosted at the venue,” he told MiD DAY.
It may be noted that last season the MDFA initially struggled to find a venue to host the Elite Division matches and finally when it managed to secure the Western Railway (Mahalaxmi) grounds, 10 teams out of 14 pulled out citing various reasons, leading to the association having to scrap the tournament.
The Cooperage was allotted an astroturf under FIFA’s ‘Win in India with India’ initiative back in 2009.
The development also coincides with the outcome of the recent MDFA Executive Committee elections. Mumbai FC manager Henry Picardo, who was one of the 27 members elected to the Executive Committee on Saturday, revealed that the focus for the new committee would be infrastructure. “We’ll focus on infrastructure and on getting corporates involved with Mumbai football.
In two-three months, we’ll try to hunt for a title sponsor for MDFA tournaments. We have a three-year plan to improvise football in the city,” he said. Another elected member and former player John Alphonso however had a word of caution for those expecting the new committee to work wonders.
“Since almost all the new elected members are former footballers we are very keen to bring back the lost glory of Mumbai football. We will bring about change but since many of us are new to the system, we will take some time to understand the ways of the MDFA,” said Alphonso.