One often comes across stories about sportsmen, who cannot afford to buy their sporting-gear and end up borrowing it to turn up for their respective matches. But, seldom would one find an entire team that plays on borrowed gear — jerseys, shoes etc.
The Our Lady of Dolours (Marine Lines) under-16 hockey team is one such team. The entire team plays wearing a set of jerseys lent to them by the Mumbai Hockey Association.
Currently playing their heart out in the ongoing Ahmed Sailor tournament at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium (Churchgate), the players have done well this far too, having beaten St Stanislaus (Bandra) 2-1 on Tuesday and St Paul’s (Dadar) 7-0 yesterday.
Clearly, having no jersey of their own is not a deterrent to the success of this team that has been previously represented by some fine players including India international, Yuvraj Walmiki.
Besides the Walmiki bothers — Yuvraj, Devinder and Anup — the school has also produced state-level players like Boon D’Souza, Amit Gowda and Sudhir Dixit among others.
The school’s coach Marzban Patel explained that the last time the players received a set of jerseys from the school was six years ago. “The boys have been using those for the last six seasons. They have obviously been over-used due to which many of them have torn while some are misplaced.
That’s the reason why we are currently using the jerseys provided by MHA — the ones that are kept in reserve and to be utilised to differentiate between two teams wearing similar coloured attire.”
The veteran coach added that his players come from humble backgrounds so they cannot even afford shoes and hockey sticks. “Most of the students in this team come from poor backgrounds.
They cannot afford basic equipment, but are very talented. So, I try to provide them with shoes, hockey sticks and even nutrition, at times,” said Patel, who cited the example of Walmiki to explain the passion these boys possess for hockey.
“These players are very dedicated… they simply love hockey, and most of them dream of playing for India some day, just like Yuvraj. In fact, some have already played in national junior tournaments and have represented the Mumbai U-16 team too,” he added.
Results: St Andrew’s HS 6 (Aziz Shaikh 2, Vignesh Shenoy 2, Azfor Noorani, Sahil Jaddar) bt Ryan International 0; St Anne’s HS 12 (Kevin Fernandes 4, Satyan Yadav 3, Haresh Jadhav, Alroy Remedios, Andrew Nadir, Daniel Chetty, Cletus D’Mello) bt St Theresa HS 0; Children’s Academy 16 (Jay Parmar 7, Darshan Gawkar 2, Yesh Pithwa 2, Sagar Dihora 2, Hemant Fadikar, Deep Mistry, Milon Waghela) bt St Joseph 0; Our Lady of Dolours 7 (Tikaram Thakulla 3, Santosh Singh 3, Sameer Qureshi) bt St Paul’s 0.