Strangely, Chhattisgarh’s Manish Yadav, was found overage in the same tournament in 2011, but returned here again, played three matches and even scored seven goals (four vs Goans Hockey & three vs Hockey Gujarat) before HM lodged a protest yesterday.
“The Maharashtra team lodged a protest this morning and we referred the matter to Hockey India, who crosschecked the boy’s details and found he is above 17 and ineligible to play. We informed Chhattisgarh before the match and they removed the player,” explained tournament manager Puran Singh.
Chhattisgarh manager Jitendra Kumar Sinha said he was not aware that Manish was overage. “The boys had their final exams till April 8 and soon after we left for Mumbai. So, I didn’t get enough time to verify the details of all players. He was our main player and his absence led to us losing so badly today,” said Sinha.
HM coach Ranvir Singh Bhatti said: “Manish is around 20-21 years old. How can he be part of an U-17 tournament? We are glad that our complaint was acted upon.” In today’s final, HM face Madhya Pradesh, who beat Hockey Bhopal 5-1 in the other semi-final yesterday.
Results: (S/F) Madhya Pradesh 5 (A Sharma, A Khan, Z Sohail, J Khan, A Yadav) bt Hockey Bhopal 1 (S Akhtar); Hockey Maharashtra 6 (S Prasad 3, A Gurav 2, T Shah) bt Chhattisgarh 0.