Rare kind of tension for Don Bosco players

It’s common to see children representing their school in more than one sporting discipline. But if the figure is 10 like it was yesterday, it could backfire in the wake of warped scheduling.

Fatigued: Don Bosco’s Rosenberg Gabriel, Pierre Noronha, Darryl Saldanha, Troy D’Souza, Bryce Miranda, Marc D’Souza, Shannon Murzello, Ryan Vareela, Keegan D’Souza and Aidan Da’Costa after their MSSA Ahmed Sailor Cup tie at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium in Churchgate. Pics/Bipin Kokate/Suresh KK

Don Bosco’s football team played the Subroto Mukherjee District Sports Office (DSO) U-17 Divisional final against St Andrew’s College (Bandra) at St Francis D’Assisi ground in Borivli at 9 am.

A little over three hours later, the versatile 10 figured in the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) U-16 Ahmed Sailor inter-school hockey match at MHA-Mahindra Stadium in Churchgate. 

Both teams lost their respective matches; the football team going down 0-1 to St Andrew’s while the 1-2 hockey defeat came against Children’s Academy (Malad).

Pierre Noronha, who led both teams, explained: “As we have many players common in the hockey and football teams, giving priority to one sport becomes very difficult.

Thankfully, our coaches are able to co-ordinate and conduct practice sessions. Playing two sports on one day isn’t easy. We are unable to give our 100 per cent in any one game.”

Aidan Da’Costa, Marc D’Souza, Troy D’Souza, Keegan D’Souza, Rosenberg Gabriel, Bryce Miranda, Shannon Murzello, Pierre Noronha, Ryan Vareela and Darryl Saldanha were part of Don Bosco’s football and hockey teams.

Scheduling is at the heart of this problem. “I understand that DSO is a government body while MSSA is a private one, but both should communicate and draw up fixtures accordingly so that the children don’t suffer. It’s not that they are unaware of the tournaments,” said the school’s football coach Leslie Machado.

“Travelling from one part of the city to the other is tiring for players and this affects performance. The authorities just want to complete their tournaments,” he added.

Don Bosco’s hockey coach Javed Sayyed blamed fatigue for his team’s loss. “How can the boys perform when they have played a match just two hours ago? Their tiredness was noticeable in their performance.

We didn’t even get time to warm up and this affected our performance,” said the furious coach. Key player Aidan Da’Costa felt such problems do not only thwart performance but studies as well because there is little time for boys to attend tuition classes.

Aidan’s father Ivan elaborated: “DSO and MSSA are just killing our children’s future. They had to play the hockey match later (in the afternoon) without their breakfast. To play two days in a row is hard enough, but here, the kids have to play back-to-back matches.

“The country cannot produce quality players if such things go on.” MSSA’s hockey secretary Sarah Alphonso explained how she accommodated Bosco’s request for a delayed start. “Their 9:15 am hockey match was postponed to 12:15 pm after I was informed about the DSO final,” she said.

Meanwhile, DSO official Kailash Latke said: “We try and adjust matches if the children have another match on the same day. We also have set dates to finish tournaments as there are other tournaments too. We understand that the kids are tired playing two matches in a day in two different tournaments, but I am just following orders given to me by my seniors. I am helpless beyond a point.” 

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