The Mumbai Schools Sports Association authorities, referees and even coaches of the participating schools — Bombay Scottish (Mahim) and Activity HS (Peddar Road) — were oblivious of a very basic error that occurred during one of the matches of the U-14 Utpal Sanghvi tournament yesterday.
Two Bombay Scottish players — Jay Bhavnani and Aryaman Puri sported the same number — 8 — on the back of their jerseys even as the line-up mentioned Aryaman’s number as 18.
Jersey numbers are allocated to players to help officials differentiate between them in terms of goals scored, fouls committed, etc. Duplicity of jersey numbers is a strict no-no as it may lead to incorrect information being recorded.
Referee Raunak Gajbhiye admitted he didn’t notice the error. “I didn’t notice the two players wearing Jersey No 8. We have been telling coaches to ensure such things never happen,” he said.
In fact, this is not the first time that the Mahim school’s players have been spotted with same jersey numbers. Their U-16 team was pulled up last year as well as earlier this year, for doing the same.
Scottish coach Sachin Panchal thought he would get away again. “One of the players lost his jersey and so he wore last year’s jersey. That’s why the duplicity. We didn’t think anyone would notice it,” Panchal told MiD DAY.
MSSA football secretary Anslem Alphonso said it’s the Scottish coach’s fault. “Two players with the same jersey number in one team is unacceptable. I’m aware that Scottish had done this last year. I will warn the team’s coach about this,” said Alphonso.