Parle Tilak, Vile Parle are a good side on the inter-school cricket circuit, but the same cannot be said about their football team. Probably because they do not have a football coach or even a ground to practice on.
Nevertheless, the team does not want these obstacles to prevent them from improving as a unit as was evident in their 1-1 draw against Learner’s Academy, Bandra in the Mumbai Schools Sports Association’s (MSSA) U-16 Div III competition at St Xavier’s, Parel yesterday. It is their physical education teacher Jitendra Patil who accompanies the team for matches.
Yash Mangave opened the scoring for the Parle side in the 28th minute, but their delight was short-lived as the Bandra outfit’s Parth Kharwar equalised 10 minutes later.
“Our school has a proper coaching system in place for cricket. But that’s not the case for football. We started playing amongst ourselves and requested Patil Sir to let us participate in the MSSA tournament five years ago. We started playing in Div IV. If we had a specialist coach, I am sure we could have reached Div II by now,” said 14-year-old Yash.
Parle Tilak skipper Neel Shelar too felt that special attention is given to cricket by his school, and football remains a poor cousin. “All facilities are provided for kids who choose to play cricket. Only we don’t have anything – no coach and a ground. If we get the same facilities as the cricketers, we can go a long way,” said Neel.
Patil spoke on his role: “These boys came to me, saying that they want to field a team in MSSA. I am not a football specialist so I cannot train them but I requested the school (authorities) to at least let them play.
There is talent but I feel bad that they don’t have a coach to guide them. From this year onwards we have a coach for the U-14 and U-12 team. So hopefully, their performances will improve next year,” he said.
Meanwhile, in the other Div III tie, Our Lady of Health, Sahar defeated R N Podar, Santacruz 1-0 thanks to Saahil Kher’s goal.