St Stanislaus ‘A’ (Bandra) beat St Mary’s ICSE (Mazagaon) 2-1 to lift the Mumbai Schools Sports Association-Mumbai Indians U-12 Div I inter-school football title at Azad Maidan on Saturday. The win is commendable considering the Bandra outfit have been playing the tournament without a coach on the sidelines as three of their coaches — Jubal Solomon, Hyacinth Cardoz and Trevor Fernandes — have been banned by MSSA on disciplinary grounds since June for a period of two years.
Though the ban was later revoked, the coaches continue to stay away from the ground during matches claiming that the MSSA have not yet sent the school an official later informing them of the ban being lifted. “The ban was revoked a long time ago, but I don’t know why the MSSA is taking so much time to send an official letter to the school stating the same. The kids aren’t aware that I do not come for matches due to the ban. But I am glad they are playing well,” Fernandes told MiD DAY.
MSSA football secretary Anslem Alphonso meanwhile, admitted there was a delay in the matter being resolved. “The delay in sending the letter is because I have not yet got a final nod from MSSA president Fr Jude Rodrigues,” he said. The Stanislaus players however played their hearts out and it hardly seemed that they were missing their coach in the final on Saturday.
Striker Gerrard Quadras opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a brilliant right-footer that ended a fine solo effort. But their happiness was shortlived as, just two minutes later, St Mary’s Kumayle Merchant equalised. Stanislaus’ Joriah Noronha then scored the winner from a Gerrard assist in the 36th minute.
“We did miss our coach, Trevor Sir, but the one thing he has always told us during practice is that his absence on the ground should not stop us from winning. And that’s what we did today,” said Gerard, named the best player of the final and awarded an expensive pair of football boots. “My parents would never be able to afford these shoes. This will motivate me to do well in the future,” added the 11-year-old striker.