The countdown has begun and Don Bosco High School, Matunga who will be defending their Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) U-16 Elite Division football title just can’t wait to go out and start showcasing their skills.
Bosco, who have won the tournament four years running open their campaign against promoted side St Lawrence, Kandivli on July 22, and like previous years it will be interesting to see whether they will be met with stiff challenge from their opponents.
Last year’s runners-up Campion School (Cooperage), Bombay Scottish (Mahim), St Stanislaus (Bandra) and St Francis D’Assisi (Borivali) will be extremely keen to topple Bosco’s apple cart, but they are aware of the obstacles they need to overcome in the course of the next few months.
Baring Pierre Noronha and Marc D’souza, Bosco have a new team this season. But with the U-14 team members — Aidan Da Costa, Darryl Saldanha, Aditya Shandilya, Rahul Swamy, Bryce Miranda being promoted to the U-16 side, coach Leslie Machado is confident that they will defend their title.
Goalkeeper Jude Hendriques who joined Bosco this year is amongst the new faces in the side. Meanwhile, Ryan Varela, Troy D’Souza and Ruchir Kinni are the players who make it to the elite team from the school’s ‘B’ team.
Ten players from last year’s winning side — Milando Naicker, Ayush Shetty, goalkeeper Aaron Koli, Quentin Britto, Neville D’Cunha, Keanu D’Souza, Rithvik Punja, Sheldon D’Souza, Nathan Fernandes and Vikrant Belwalkar will not be featuring this time round.
However, striker Marc D’souza is confident that his team will continue doing well. “I was a part of both U-14 and U-16 winning sides. I hope we are able to carry forward the legacy.
This year’s team is a combination of U-14 team members and some ‘B’ team players. The advantage that we have over other teams is that we play as one unit. I am confident that it won’t affect our performance,” he said.