Two Mumbai Schools Sports Association’s (MSSA) Div II U-16 inter-school football matches were delayed by over two hours and one match could not be held yesterday at the St Xavier’s ground, Parel simply because the referees didn’t know who was playing who.
One of the referees got to know who was playing the 9 am match between Navy Children (Colaba) vs Lilavati Podar (Santacruz) a good one and a half hours later when this correspondent gave him a copy of the fixture sheet. As a result, the Holy Family (Andheri) vs Don Bosco (Matunga) clash was delayed. The third U-16 Div II match of the day at Parel — Don Bosco (Borivli) and St Anthony’s (Versova) — couldn’t be held because the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) matches were scheduled for a 12 pm kick off.
MSSA football secretary Anslem Alphonso attributed the delays to the inavailability of fixture sheet. “The inconvenience caused is because the venue in-charge did not collect the fixture sheet from us last week. He picked it up from Azad Maidan only this morning,” Alphonso told MiD DAY.
However, it is learnt the venue in-charge was ill. Meanwhile, coaches of the participating teams that were either delayed or missed out were furious and blamed MSSA officials. “The manner in which MSSA functions is just not acceptable. We waited for more than an hour for the match to start. Eventually, our boys had to go back without playing a match.
“A responsible MSSA official should be present at the venue to take care of things instead of leaving it to the referees to handle,” said Diago Fernandes, Don Bosco’s (Borivli) coach.
“We reached the ground at 8.30 am for our 9 am match. The boys did their warm-up exercises, but the match didn’t start. Finally, the game was held at 11. MSSA is just not bothered,” said another coach.
Referee Ashley Gibbs appeared helpless. “We reached the venue on time. MSSA should provide us the fixture sheet in advance,” said Gibbs.
Akdeep Yadav of Navy Children knocked in the only goal with a thrusting header in the first half to help the Colaba outfit register a narrow 1-0 win over Lilavati Podar. In another Div II tie, Holy Family (Andheri) defeated Don Bosco ‘B’ (Matunga) 2-0. The Andheri outfit’s striker Charnel de Almeida gave his team the lead with a swerving volley, while Jake Santos scored a second-half goal on a stunning solo effort.