Players being overage has forever been a bane in age category football, so it was no surprise that the menace resurfaced during the ongoing U-15 Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy inter-school football tournament at Azad Maidan yesterday.
St Paul's (Dadar) failed to turn up for their quarter-final match against St Lawrence (Kandivli) yesterday. The match was originally scheduled for Thursday evening. However, after Lawrence coach Laxman Bisht lodged a protest claiming some of the Paul's boys were overage, the game was pushed forward by a day to give St Paul's time to defend themselves.
St Lawrence protest
"On Thursday, when I protested against the Dadar team for fielding overage players, St Paul's team authorities told me that they did not have the players' identity cards with them. Hence, the match was re-scheduled for Friday morning. But they failed to turn up even Friday, and we directly played our semi-final against Don Bosco (Matunga) (losing 0-2). St Paul's not coming to play means that their boys are either overage or that they do not have the required identity proofs," added Bisht. It is noteworthy to mention here that Mumbai Schools Sports Association's (MSSA) president Fr Jude Rodrigues is in-charge of the Dadar school.
MSSA Jt Secy quiet
Furthermore, MSSA joint secretary Sebastian Fernandes who accompanied the Dadar team as manager, refused to comment on the issue. "I can't comment on this. You should call the coach (Sushant)," said Fernandes, claiming he didn't have the coach's phone number.
MSSA football secretary Xavier Faria confirmed the incident. "We had asked St Paul's to produce their players' identity cards. Yesterday though, they did not come for the match so the Kandivli team qualified to play the semi-finals against Don Bosco," Faria told MiD DAY.
One of the match officials, who did not wish to be named, said: "When St Lawrence coach protested against St Paul's (Dadar) players being overage (on Thursday), we asked them to produce age proofs. Since, they didn't have the proofs with them, we re-scheduled the match for Friday. But didnt show up today."
Despite repeated attempts Fr Jude was unavailable for comment.