After MiD-DAY’s expose on the atrocious conditions in which the Mumbai U-19 hockey team were forced to travel in while returning from a championship tournament in Sonepat, the MHA President, Mangha Singh Bakshi told SUNDAY MiD-DAY, that they were unsure of the team’s perfomance. “We had confirmed tickets for the team from Mumbai.
But it was uncertain at what stage the team would get eliminated, so we did not book their return tickets. We gave money for tickets to the manager and the coach, and they were to book the return tickets,”he said Bakshi added that he was ‘upset’ by the situation, but maintained it was not the MHA’s responsibility. “The coach and manager should have told us, or told the organisers that there was a problem. They could have waited for a day for tickets to be arranged. They didn’t even try for Tatkal tickets.”
“The meeting with the MHA will be held on June 12 to discuss the matter. I hope our kids get to travel in better conditions next time. We used to have seven to eight players from Mumbai in the national team at one point. Now, there’s just one,” said Cornell Fernandes, the team manager.
What really happened
On Saturday, MiD-DAY reported how Fernandes and 15 players under his charge had to travel in the unreserved compartment, as they didn’t have any return tickets. The players had to stand near the train’s toilets and sit in the pantry car on their 18-hour journey home. Most team members were awake all night, thanks to mismanagement that denied them reserved berths