Injured schoolkids left to fend for themselves

The safety of kids seems unimportant to the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA), who conducted the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge (MYFC) at Don Bosco ground in Matunga.

In yesterday’s final between Don Bosco (Matunga) and Lilavatibai Podar (Santacruz), medical assistance was near zilch with even ice not available to treat injured players.

A medical official attends to Lilavatibai Podar goalkeeper Ritikraj S

Don Bosco captain Aidan Da Costa and teammates — Aaron Koli (goalkeeper), Marc D’Souza alongwith Lilavatibai Podar goalkeeper Ritikraj S suffered minor bruises during the tie.

Aidan’s father Ivan, a former hockey player, was agitated with the lack of medical facilities. “Injuries are part of any sport, but a basic thing like ice wasn’t available when these kids got hurt. What if they had suffered a major injury?” said Ivan, who had to rush to the school’s canteen to fetch ice.

Interestingly, there was a medical official at the ground — Xylvester Hasan — who blamed MSSA for inadequate medication (ointment, antiseptic liquid and cotton) provided to him.

Don Bosco striker Marc D’Souza applies ice to an injury. The ice was provided by one of the players’ parents

“I told the organisers that I will need ice, Relispray and other basic medication, but they never bothered to provide the same,” said Hasan.

MSSA football secretary Anslem Alphonso said: “Why did the medical official wear the jersey then? He should have got ice and other necessary medication before the match started.”

Don Bosco’s (Matunga) Bryce Miranda ¬†tries to get past Lilavatibai Podar’s Apurva Amberkar (in blue) during the MYFC U-14 final at the Don Bosco Ground in Matunga yesterday. ¬†Pics/Shadab Khan

Like Hasan, the organisers Procam International also blamed MSSA. “In all other cities, we ensure proper medical facilities are provided to the kids. We expected MSSA to do the same, but unfortunately that didn’t happen today. We will ensure this is not repeated. I am surprised that there was no ice to treat the players. From next year, I will make sure that there is a doctor, physiotherapist and an ambulance on the final day,” promised PN Sankaran, Procam’s Director Operations.

Meanwhile, Don Bosco (Matunga) continued their domination as they won their third MYFC title by defeating Lilavatibai Podar (Santacruz) 2-0. Striker Marc D’Souza opened the scoring for the Matunga outfit in the 17th minute via a brilliant header. Troy D’Souza scored the winner in the 40th minute to ensure the Matunga side took home the Rs 30,000 cash award, while Lilavati received Rs 20,000. St Lawrence (Kandivli) beat ANZA (Byculla) 4-3 via tie-breaker to win third place.

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