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MSSA football match interrupted repeatedly by throwball players

The Mumbai Schools Sports Association's (MSSA) eagerness to host both football and throwball competitions on the Azad Maidan ground simultaneously caused quite a few interruptions in a football match at the venue yesterday.

An intruder runs past the goal during an U-12 football match between St Mary's High School and Cathedral and John Connon at Azad Maidan yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
An intruder runs past the goal during an U-12 football match between St Mary's High School and Cathedral and John Connon at Azad Maidan yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The throwball matches were being held on three pitches at Azad Maidan. One of these pitches was adjacent to a football pitch and players wanting to access this venue chose to take the shortcut across the football pitch despite an U-12 boys' Division I match happening there instead of taking the longer route across the stands.

With no security guards to stop the players, the football match between Cathedral and John Connon (A), Fort and St Mary's High School ICSE (A), Mazgaon instead had to be stopped at various occasions, leading the game to go on for at least an hour instead of the stipulated 50 minutes.

The situation forced the two teams' coaches to urge the MSSA to prevent a reoccurrence. St Mary's High School's (ICSE) coach Savio Rodrigues said, "I do understand parents will come to watch their children play and are excited, but MSSA should look into the matter with regards to people moving on the field."

Same scene every year Cathedral and John Connon coach Deepak Narwade said, "I've been coaching for a long time and every year the conditions are the same."

MSSA general secretary Sebastian Fernandes said, "I understand that the concentration in the game gets diverted with people moving on the ground, therefore we will ensure security from tomorrow and make sure that the match is not being disrupted and both events run smoothly."

Despite the constant interruptions, Cathedral and John Connon beat St Mary's 4-1 with Kaustubh Mathur netting a brace while Abhibhav Dujodwala and Arnav Gaurantala also scored for the Fort outfit. Karl Makuna scored St Mary's lone goal.

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