Hockey: Don Bosco High School add to Mumbai's turf time

Updated: Mar 19, 2019, 08:40 IST | Ashwin Ferro | Mumbai

Matunga institution is first school in city to lay out full-size artificial hockey turf

At a time when Indian hockey is not in the best of health, city aficionados are set to receive a tonic with the installation of a full-size artificial turf at Don Bosco High School, Matunga, a first for a school premises in Mumbai.

The FIH-approved, 91.4 metre x 55 metre turf is currently in the final stage of installation and will be inaugurated on March 30, when city-based international hockey stars will play a friendly match with Don Bosco's past and present pupils.

Interestingly, the project is a joint venture between two Don Bosco institutions. "Regardless of the current scenario in Indian or Mumbai hockey, the sport has always been a priority at Don Bosco. This project has been in the pipeline for some time and has finally materialised thanks to a joint-venture between the two schools on this premises - Don Bosco High School [DBHS] and Don Bosco International School [DBIS]," Fr Crispino D'Souza, Rector of Don Bosco, Matunga, and the brain behind the project, tells mid-day.

An aerial view of the artificial hockey turf being laid at Don Bosco, Matunga, yesterday. Pics/Ashish Raje
An aerial view of the artificial hockey turf being laid at Don Bosco, Matunga, yesterday. Pics/Ashish Raje

Edgar's dream project
If Fr Crispino is the brain, former India player Edgar Mascarenhas is the heart of the new venture. "I've always wanted to give back to the game that has given me so much and a turf like this, right in the centre of the city, where youngsters can hone their skills, is a dream come true," says Mascarenhas, who is also the Director of Sports at DBIS.

Fr Crispino D'Souza (left) and Edgar Mascarenhas
Fr Crispino D'Souza (left) and Edgar Mascarenhas

The flood-lit, full-size
hockey-only turf, laid at a massive cost of around Rs 3.6 crore, is only the third in the city, after the Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd's (MHAL) surface in Churchgate and the Sports Authority of India facility in Kandivli. The school plans to open a hockey academy under Mascarenhas, where kids in the age group of seven to 16 will train throughout the week. "We've had two big names, who have gone on to wear Indian hockey team colours - Mir Ranjan Negi and of course Edgar. Through this turf we hope to produce more national hockey stars from the Don Bosco stable," adds Fr Crispino, who is happy to lease the facility to outsiders for a fee but strictly for hockey matches only.

MSSA, MHAL welcome
"We are open to providing our ground to MSSA [Mumbai Schools Sports Association] for inter-school games or MHAL for club matches. Besides the nominal fee, we need to only ensure that their fixtures do not overlap with the training schedule of our school children, who are our priority," says Fr Crispino.

Turf talk
* Size of the FIH-approved full-size artificial hockey turf is 91.4x55m.
* The white sand-based turf needs no watering.
* Manufacturer is FieldTurf by Tarkett Group.
* Total cost of laying the turf is Rs 3.6 crore.

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