Jugal keeps Don Bosco at bay as Swami Vivekanand triumph

Swami Vivekanand (Kandivli) won their maiden Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) U-16 Division III title beating Don Bosco, Matunga ‘B’ 2-1 via tie-breakers yesterday. And the player largely responsible for this triumph was goalkeeper Jugal Thakkar. The 15-year-old brought about four saves off five shots in the penalty shoot-out and was also adjudged the best goalkeeper of the tournament. Both teams were locked goalless at the end of regulation time. 

Goalkeeper Jugal Thakkar is lifted by his teammates. Pic/Shadab Khan

Coach Vasant Anchan attributed his team’s success to Jugal’s efforts. “We won three of our last four matches through tie-breakers. It was only through his efforts that we could lift the title,” said Anchan.

Jugal, who was carried around by his teammates on their shoulders during celebrations recalled the manner in which he made it to Vivekanand’s football team three years ago. “I wanted to play as a forward or midfielder.

But our coach (Anchan) asked me to play as a goalkeeper, as there was no place in the team. I wasn’t happy with the decision, but I accepted, as I desperately wanted to be part of the school’s side. Now when I look back, I feel that the coach was right,” the Class IX student said.

Anchan said he asked Jugal to play as a regular ’keeper because of his height. “He was 4 ft 11 inch at the age of 12 (5 ft 7 inch now). I thought his height could play a major role in the team’s performances.” And indeed it did!

B-16-III-3rd place play-offs
St Andrew’s, Bandra 7 (Nilesh Madane, Akram Khan 2, Azfar Nurani 4) beat The Activity 1 (Akash Patel)

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