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Jersey number gaffe: Mumbai school's football team scores imperfect 10

Andheri school’s U-14 football team enters ground for DSO match with all players wearing No 10 jerseys; referee makes team wear bibs with different numbers after mid-day reporter points out goof-up 

At first glance, it seemed like 10 Neymars had descended upon the St Francis D’Assisi Ground in Borivli yesterday. 

In fact, they were players of SCD Barfiwala High School (Andheri), walking on to the ground for their District Sports Office (DSO) Mumbai suburban boys U-14 Subroto Mukherjee inter-school football match against Thakur Public School (Kandivli).

Neymars everywhere: SCD Barfiwala High School’s (Andheri) players sport the same jersey number on their backs as they walk on to the field to play Thakur Public School (Kandivli) in the Subroto Mujherjee DSO-inter-school under-14 football match at St Francis D’Assisi Ground in Borivali yesterday
Neymars everywhere: SCD Barfiwala High School’s (Andheri) players sport the same jersey number on their backs as they walk on to the field to play Thakur Public School (Kandivli) in the Subroto Mujherjee DSO-inter-school under-14 football match at St Francis D’Assisi Ground in Borivali yesterday

Astonishingly, DSO official Sanjog Dhole, Barfiwala coach Pravin Helkar and referee Dominic Dias were all oblivious to this basic error up until mid-day brought it to their notice minutes before kick-off.

Ten members of Barfiwala’s playing 11 — Risabh Gupta, Daulat Khan, Sachin Keluskar, Yogesh Kawandale, Aditya Suvarna, Dhananjay Jadhav, Sumit Avahade, Chetanya Raut, Krishna Manae and Amay Vahane were all sporting No 10 jerseys with Brazil striker Neymar Jr’s name in bold lettering displayed on their backs.

The Barfiwala players play the match wearing yellow bibs provided by DSO authorities. Pic/Nimesh Dave
The Barfiwala players play the match wearing yellow bibs provided by DSO authorities. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Jersey numbers are allocated to players to help officials differentiate between them in terms of goals scored, fouls committed, etc. Duplicity of jersey numbers is a strict no-no as it may lead to incorrect information being recorded.

Referee Dias said that since he was doing an earlier match, he didn't notice Barfiwala’s jerseys at the outset. “As soon as I was informed about the jersey error, I ensured the players wore bibs with different numbers,” said Dias.

Ignorant coach
Shockingly, Barfiwala coach Helkar said he did not know that players needed to wear jerseys with different numbers. “I know that the team has to wear similar coloured jerseys, but I had no idea that they need to have different numbers on the back. The person we initially ordered our jerseys from delayed the delivery, so since we had this match today, we went to the market at the last minute and bought these jerseys,” Helkar told mid-day.

One of the Barfiwala players said that they had suggested jerseys with Neymar’s name on them as he is their favourite player.

DSO official Dhole said that the error occurred as there was no clear mention of this rule on the entry form. “I feel we should have clearly mentioned the rules in our entry form, which we didn’t. We have a meeting with school officials in the first week of August and I will take this issue up with them then,” said Dhole. Barfiwala ended up losing the encounter 0-4.

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