The damaged stands at the MSSA ground in Azad Maidan
The damaged stands at the MSSA ground in Azad Maidan

The Mumbai Schools Sports Association's (MSSA) decision to go online has not gone down well with the coaches of some of its member schools. They feel the 124-year-old body is better off improving off-line systems first.

MSSA have signed a three-year contract with software firm Khelomore to facilitate online activities like payment and registration of entries, uploading schedules and videos of matches conducted. But coaches feel there are bigger loopholes that need to be plugged.

Don Bosco (Matunga) football coach Leslie Machado said it's high time MSSA provided better playing facilities. "Going online is good but MSSA must first get the basic facilities for kids right. The stands at their Azad maidan ground continue to be in a shabby state. There is no proper drinking water facility and kids end buying mineral water bottles. The toilets and changing rooms are unhygienic," said Machado.

Don Bosco (Matunga) coach Leslie Machado
Don Bosco (Matunga) coach Leslie Machado

Ajinkya Kamble, cricket coach for Children's Aid Society Madhyamik Vidyalaya (Mankhurd) felt the online announcement is being made rather late in the day. "Going paperless is a good initiative but MSSA should first get their website running like how the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has done. They should have also announced this in advance. Now suddenly, if we submit a wrong entry (incorrect spelling of name or date of birth) and are unable to change it at the MSSA office in time, a kid may miss out on participation," said Kamble.

Aditya Birla World Academy (Tardeo) sports co-ordinator Marcellus John didn't even know about MSSA's new move. "This is news to me. I have already made a cheque for this year's membership fees according to the circular they sent us," said John.

MSSA President, Father Jude Rodrigues said the association will look into all these issues. "We decided to go paperless to ensure that we can maintain records and don't have to manually search for everything. As far as other facilities are concerned, we have refurbished the tennis and basketball courts. We will ensure that the artificial turf is laid at the earliest and the seating area too is done up."