Before India figures in its next Olympics at Rio 2016, Mumbai’s sporting fraternity could be richer by one more artificial football turf and another dual (football & hockey) turf, if the management of Don Bosco’s (Matunga) are able to execute their ambitious plans.
The Salesians running the school have been harbouring the dream of a Don Bosco Sports Complex for some time now.
And India’s biggest Olympics medal haul (six medals) at the London Games has only added fuel to their burning desire.
As part of the multi-crore project, the school is looking to replace one of their two existing grounds with an artificial turf for football, while their grass hockey ground will make way for an astro-turf or a dual synthetic surface similar to the one at the Fr Agnel’s Sports Complex (Vashi), on which both hockey and football can be played. There are also plans for a swimming pool, stands for spectators, player changing rooms and brand new cricket pitches across the school’s sprawling premises that will be made available to sports enthusiasts.
Rev Fr Wilfred D’Souza, the Rector of Don Bosco (Matunga) explained: “The Olympics has shown that there is an abundance of sporting talent in our country, and through our initiative, we hope to tap this at a young age. In Mumbai, there is no football turf besides Cooperage (Colaba) and no hockey turf between the MHA-Mahindra Stadium (Churchgate) and the new government-owned Sports Authority of India turf in Kandivli.”
Funds, the key
The school has estimated a three-four year timeframe for the project. “For now, we only have the blueprint in place, so the exact timeframe is tough to predict. But we could look at it coinciding with the Don Bosco Bicentenary in 2015 or the school’s 75 year-anniversary in 2016,” said Principal Fr Bosco D’Mello.
The all-important task of raising funds lies in the hands of the school’s Vice-Principal and Administrator Fr Derek Misquitta. “Going by the estimates we have received, the cost of the dual turf is roughly Rs 4 crore while the second one should cost Rs 3 crore. We are still awaiting the estimate for the pool. We are also planning stands for spectators and changing rooms, so the cost will escalate,” said Fr Derek, adding that since the school does not lease its grounds for weddings or other commercial purposes, they will look for alternate sources of income now.
“We plan to approach
corporates and other patrons, who have generously supported our previous sports ventures like the annual Savio Cup basketball tournament. We also seek help from our past pupils, many of whom are successfully placed not only in India, but also abroad,” Fr Derek concluded.