Not again! No changing room for girls at inter-school tournament
Mumbai school sports bodies DSO and MSSA fail to provide basic facilities for female footballers; coach says match venue had liquor bottles lying in the sitting area and drunk men around the place
Authorities that manage inter-school sports in the city have shown time and again that girls' football is not on their list of priorities. Let alone improve the standard of the game, they have struggled to provide even basic facilities like clean toilets and changing rooms to the players.
Players of St Anne's (Fort) and Smt Lilavatibai Podar (Santacruz) were seen running around the St Xavier's ground, Parel searching for a washroom ahead of their MSSA girls U-16 match on September 6. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Yesterday, coaches were furious at the District Sports Office (DSO) for conducting the zonal girls U-17 final between Dhirubhai Ambani International (BKC) and St Lawrence High School (Borivli) at the St Francis D'Assisi ground, Borivli where there was no changing facilities and proper washrooms for the players.
Riding on a brace by Ananya Thakur, the BKC school won 3-0. Earlier this month, the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) shifted a girls U-16 Division I match from Azad Maidan to St Xavier's ground, Parel where teenage girls were forced to change in an under-construction storeroom and they were asked to use an unhygienic washroom.
Girls from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) School (Santacruz) arrive for their U-17 DSO match at St Francis D'Assisi ground in Borivli on September 9, only to discover there was no changing room. They had to change into their sportswear in a dingy room at the far end of the ground. Pic/Suresh KK
Talking about the shabby treatment meted out to women footballers, junior India player Anisha Chavan, said, "It is a shame that despite knowing the poor conditions at St Xavier's ground, Parel and St Francis ground, DSO and MSSA hold girls' matches there. The players are denied basic facilities and respect that they deserve."
Meanwhile, another coach termed the Xavier's venue unsafe for girls. "How can the MSSA schedule a girls match at a place where there are liquor bottles and broken glass pieces lying in the seating area and drunk men around the place?"
Despite being aware of the pathetic conditions, MSSA general secretary Sebastian Fernandes blamed scheduling problems, while DSO sports officer Balaji Barbade blamed lack of staff.
St Dominic Savio (Andheri) beat St Francis D'Assisi (Borivli) 6-5 via penalties to enter the final of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) Ahmed Sailor knock-out boys U-16 football tournament after a gap of eight years at Azad Maidan yesterday.
Hansel D'Souza opened the scoring for Dominic Savio in the 18th minute. But, Viren Mudaliar equalised for the Borivli outfit in the 32nd minute.
Three minutes later Calvin Baretto scored to make it 2-1 in favour of Dominic Savio. In the 40th minute, Dominic Savio's Karan Kutty was handed a red card for elbowing a Francis D'Assisi player.
The 10-man team couldn't stop Yelstin D'Souza from equalising just three minutes before the whistle to make it 2-2.
In the tie-breaker, Hansel, Calvin, Mohammed Murad and Simeon Monteiro were on target for Dominic Savio.