Apostolic Carmel (Bandra) coach Cosmos Vaz’s gamble to play 10-year-old Florian Pereira in a category (under-14) well above her age paid off.
Striker Florian’s cross helped Vidhisha Sawant score the winner in their 1-0 win over Bombay Scottish (Mahim) in the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) girls’ inter-school football tournament at Azad Maidan yesterday.
Having got the ball on the halfway line, Florian dribbled past three Bombay Scottish defenders in the 16th minute and passed the ball to Vidisha from the right flank, who made no mistake in scoring the goal.
According to MSSA rules, if a player moves to a higher age group he/she cannot play in a lower age category. Florian will thus miss out in the U-12 category where she emerged the best player last season.
She is unfazed though. “It doesn’t matter if I play in U-12 or U-14. All I want is to give my best. I hope to be the best player in U-14 as well. Looking at my height (less than four feet), people don’t take me seriously until they play against me. Cosmos sir has immense confidence in me and I should live up to his expectations,” Florian told MiD DAY.
Meanwhile, coach Vaz defended his move to push Florian into a higher age group.
“I did it because she is talented. Though she is tiny, she has immense potential. Today, she made me proud. Though she didn’t score, it was her assist that helped Vidisha score the winner,” Vaz said.
Results: G-14: Dhirubhai Ambani 2 (Saachi Munot 2) bt Jamnabai Narsee 0; Arya Vidya Mandir (Juhu) 0 drew with Sacred Heart 0; Arya Vidyamandir (Bandra) 0 drew with St Peter’s 0; J B Petit 1 (Diya Sanghi) drew with Christ Church 1 (Sachi Ankohekar); Canossa HS 3 (Dianne Paul, Vaishnani, Tracy Pereira) bt Bhaktivedanta Swami Mission 0; B-16-POL: ANZA 3 (Ansari Shadab, Anees Ur Rehman, Qureshi Yusuf) bt Bombay Cambridge 1 (Arbaaz Kapadia) vis tie-breaker; Bombay Scottish 4 (Pranav Chheda, Christon Mascernhas, Vishal Mehta, Shamole K) bt Gopi Birla Memorial School 3 (Yash Jain 2, Abhishek B) via tie-breaker; Gokuldham 2 (Arya Agrawal, Harshit Gupta) bt New Era 1 (Anuj G).