Category Archives: Sports

Checkmate nerves in championship endgame – Calcutta teenager conquers enemy within on way to breakthrough international title

Arpita Mukherjee, who won gold in the under-20 Commonwealth Chess Championships in Delhi this month. Picture by Mayukh Sengupta
@Byline: Debraj Mitra

A 16-year-old Dum Dum girl has made a career gambit out of a “distraction” once employed by her parents to get her to swallow her medicine.

Arpita Mukherjee won gold in the under-20 Commonwealth Chess Championships in Delhi this month, an achievement pieced together after several years of dominating performances in state and national championships across age groups. A Class X student at Shahid Rameshwar Balika Vidyamandir in Dum Dum, she sees her first international victory as the turning point in her career.

“I had been losing crucial matches from favourable positions. Not being able to hold my nerves is a failing that I seem to have finally overcome,” said Arpita, whose father Partha gives chess lessons to children for a living.

The teenager looks up to chess stalwarts Magnus Carlsen and Judit Polgar for inspiration and trains at the Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy. Her top goal is to become a Grandmaster.

“There was never any doubt about Arpita’s talent. But she had a confidence problem. Winning the Commonwealth gold will settle her nerves,” Barua told Metro.

For Arpita, this competition had been all about not crumbling under the weight of expectations. A few months before the Commonwealth Games, she had started meditating to get into the right frame of mind. She finished the tournament undefeated, winning five games and drawing two.

“I won at least a couple of close matches that could have gone either way. My concentration did not slip,” Arpita recounted.

Arpita’s first big year in chess was 2008, when she was just seven years old but skilled enough to defeat several higher-seeded players at the Telegraph School Chess competition. The same year, she won the state championship in the under-8 category.

In 2009, Arpita won silver at the Asian Youth Championships in Delhi. A bronze in the under-9 section of the national championships in Chennai followed. Since then, she has consistently earned medals in successive state and national tournaments, including bronze in both the under-17 and under-19 categories of the 2016 nationals.

Arpita, much more confident after her Commonwealth success, aims to become a Women International Master (WIM) soon. “I have one WIM norm. I need two more to get the rank,” she said.

Arpita attributes her success to her father, with whom she plays “mind chess” after dinner every day. Having Grandmaster Barua as a mentor has also been a big advantage. But getting sponsors is proving to be difficult.

The teenager had been selected to represent India in the under-20 Asian Championships in Tehran in May but could not go. “I needed to arrange more than Rs 1 lakh, which I could not do. Arpita had to cancel her trip,” Partha said.

A relative gifted her a laptop last year. “It has helped me a lot – playing with the computer regularly,” she said.

What message do you have for Arpita? Tell ttmetro@abpmail.com

source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Front Page> Calcutta> Story / Friday – July 28th, 2017

Karate golds for township academy kids

(From left) Rishika Patra, Subhadip Srimani, Pratyay Sarkar and Ayushman Ray pose with their medals on the terrace of Premjit Sen’s academy in BD Block. Subhadip trains elsewhere, in Patipukur

Bengal has returned from the just-concluded Junior National Karate Championship 2017 with eight golds. The tournament, organised by Karate Association of India (KAI), was held at Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi from May 11 to 13. And of the eight gold medallists, half are products of Premjit Sen’s BD Block training academy.

Another gold might have got added to the tally if Aritri Dey did not commit an elementary mistake. “She forgot to bow at the start of the bout. That got her disqualified,” laments Sen, who was also the competition manager at the tournament. Since Aritri has got a bronze medal at the Senior National Championship, expectations were high from her.

Return to practice pad

The gold medallists, not even in their teens yet, were back for practice within 10 days on the rooftop of BD 340.

Rishika throws a kick at Premjit Sen in course of training as others watch. Pictures by Sudeshna Banerjee

Bespectacled Rishika Patra takes off her glasses before a fight. The CJ Block girl has been training at the academy since the age of three. Now she is 11. “My father used to be Shihan (Japanese term for master instructor)’s student. He had to give up karate due to spondylitis,” says the girl, whose cherubic face belies the grit of a purple stripe belt. That’s three grades below a black belt.

She studies in Ashok Hall Girls’ Higher Secondary School. The little time she can devote to studies at home after daily practice so far has fetched satisfactory grades. “Though official karate classes are twice a week, Shihan makes them practise separately every day after school,” says Rishika’s mother Sanjukta.

The results have been there to show. Her three earlier national championship appearances have fetched a gold, a bronze and a silver. Add to that a bronze in the Commmonwealth Karate Championship in 2015. “But I prize that first national gold beyond all other achievements. It was my first major competition. Shihan fell ill and had to leave before my fight. So I was alone,” says the girl who idolises boxing legend Mary Kom.

This time, Rishika travelled to Delhi with her parents, fellow student Pratyay Sarkar and his mother. “I was tense about how I would do. Didi (Rishika) was sure to get a medal,” says Pratyay, an eight-year-old from AD Block.

He need not have worried. “Pratyay has never returned without a gold medal from any competition,” says mother Chhanda. This may have been his first national event, but the boy has already played and won in internationals championships. “We try hard to save and send him abroad. Last year, he went to Cape Town, South Africa and the year before to Sydney, Australia. He won in both in his category,” says Chhanda, who runs a tailoring outfit supplying school uniforms to the state government.

This time was no different. “I won all five rounds. Ma was more excited than me,” Pratyay grins. The win earned him a big box of chocolates.

Such is the support he gets from home that his school was changed within a year of joining. “The pressure of studies was too much in Garden High,” she says. Pratyay now studies in Apeejay School in the neighbourhood.

Such is the pull of Sen’s coaching that people travel considerable distances. The other two gold medallists — Ayushman Ray and Amiyo Sundar Biswas — come from Madhyamgram and Konnagar respectively. “I used to train locally before. I am coming to Shihan’s academy for one year now,” smiles Ayushman, 9. Amiyo may be just 12 but he is already a three-time national gold medallist.

Karate’s inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo has added a spring to their steps. “We used to be a sidelined sport. Now we will be taken seriously. I hope our state government takes notice of these young champions like our neighbouring states have,” says Sen. “My focus is on five students. From the age of 14, they will be eligible to complete in Asian Karate Championship. I am training them to face competition from the traditional powerhouses — Japan, Iran and Malaysia.”
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Can an Asiad/ Olympic karate medal come from the Salt Lake academies?
Write to The Telegraph Salt Lake, 6 Prafulla Sarkar Street, Calcutta 700001 or email to saltlake@abpmail.com
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source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Front Page> Salt Lake> Story / by Sudeshna Banerjee / Friday – May 26th, 2017

Tea garden woman gives karate classes

Subrati Baraik performs karate with a student in Jaigaon. (Anirban Choudhury)

Alipurduar :

A 23-year-old woman is providing training in karate to youths, particularly females so that they could protect themselves from teasing and stalkers.

Subrati Baraik, a resident of Madhu Tea Estate, is running a karate camp in Jaigaon and training youths for their own safety.

Baraik told Metro that she had decided to learn karate after being repeatedly teased by youths at different places.

“Eight years ago, I was teased by some youths while travelling on a train. I was returning home from Siliguri. When I tried to resist them, they passed lewd comments. After few months, a similar incident occurred again at a fair. I felt insulted after both these incidents and decided to learn karate for my safety,” she said.

In 2010, Baraik came to Alipurduar town and met Apra Bora, a karate coach.

“I requested him to teach karate and he started training me. In December 2015, I participated in a National Karate Championship in Hoogly and came first in ‘Kiyukishan Full Body Contact’ category,” she added.

In Jaigaon, located on India-Bhutan boarder and 15km from here, Baraik teaches karate to 20 students, of whom 15 are females.

“I started a camp around three years ago in Jaigaon. I came here with my coach and the urge to learn karate among students made me start the camp. I charge Rs 200 per month for a student,”she said.

Classes are conducted from 8am to 9.30am on Sundays.

Baraik said after learning karate, she had once beaten up a group of youths who were teasing her and also wanted her friends residing in the estate to learn the same.

“I could study till Class X because of financial crisis in the family. I have decided to teach karate to the youth in the garden but it will take time to convince them as they are very shy,” she said.

Baraik holds brown belt in karate.

Apra Bora, Baraik’s coach, said: “She is really talented. If she does training with a lot of sincerity, she will be able to win more championships.”

The garden is 36km from Alipurduar town.

source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> North Bengal> Story / by Our Correspondent / Friday – February 17th, 2017

Blind steer cars in rally

The Agarwals of Phoolbagan and Laxman Mondal, the navigator, with their amateur category trophies

On February 5, it was the sightless in the navigator’s seat as participants in a car rally made their way from Acropolis Mall to the Harley Davidson showroom in New Town.

The Exide Rotary Car Rally for the Blind was organised by the Rotary Club of Calcutta MidTown in partnership with Just Sportz & Turnstone Global in the TSD (time, speed and distance) format.

The TSD format requires each car to pass through several manned time control points in a specified time, failing in which one is penalised. The team with the least penalty points is declared the winner.

The blind persons guided the driver with the help of the route chart printed in Braille. The rally had about 300 participants with each team being paired with a visually impaired navigator. The route map in Braille was handed over to the teams just before the flag-off and could be deciphered only by the navigator.

There were trophies for professional rallyists, amateurs and all-women teams. Director general, fire services, Jag Mohan was present for the prize distribution ceremony.

The winner in the expert category was Avik Saha with Debargha Mukherjee as the navigator.

In the amateur category, the husband-wife duo of Sandeep and Mukti Agarwal won with Laxman Mondol as the navigator. “We were debutants but Laxman had won a rally before. He was so quick with the instructions that we won easily,” said Sandeep, a Phoolbagan resident.

source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> Salt Lake> Story / by A Staff Reporter / Friday – February 17th, 2017

Tournament in paddlers’ hub Siliguri – After 5 years, national championship to be hosted in cradle of table tennis

Children practise table tennis at Siliguri Table Tennis Academy on Friday. Picture by Passang Yolmo
Children practise table tennis at Siliguri Table Tennis Academy on Friday. Picture by Passang Yolmo

Siliguri:

The paddlers’ cradle of Bengal will host the National Cadet and Sub-Junior Table Tennis Tournament from January 1-6, 2017, that will see over 700 players battling for hours.

The players will be in the under-12 and under-15 age groups and the event organised by the Table Tennis Federation of India.

“A large-scale event like a national championship in any town creates excitement among local players as well as sports lovers. Siliguri has hosted some national table tennis championships but this one is being held after four-five years,” Amit Dam, a table tennis coach who has run the Siliguri Table Tennis Academy since 1993, said.

Siliguri has a special place on the table tennis map of India as it has produced three Arjuna awardees – Mantu Ghosh, Subhajit Saha and Sounyajit Ghosh – and several other table tennis players from the town.

The event, announced today, has made youngsters, senior and veteran players, coaches and sports lovers, enthusiastic.

Siliguri has 16 coaching centres where over 500 kids regularly practice under the watchful eyes of several former players like Mantu Ghosh and Subrata Roy.

“Siliguri has been known for table tennis for decades as the town has bred many table tennis paddlers of Bengal who have played and achieved success in different tourneys. What can be a better sport event than a national-level table tennis championship?” Mantu, a former national champion and the first Arjuna awardee of Siliguri, said today.

However, Mantu and some other veterans of the game simultaneously pointed that as Siliguri did not hold any major national championship in past five years – in 2007 the seniors’ national championship was held here and the national championship of juniors and youths in 2011 – interest has waned in the game.

“We have paddlers enrolling at the coaching centres everyday but performance-wise, the town could not produce younger players who could prove their mettle at championships in recent years,” Mantu said.

At this point, she said, a tournament here will encourage young paddlers to continue honing their skills.

“I have been playing for two years and am yet to secure the necessary ranking to play at a national tourney. It would have been excellent if I would have got a chance to play in the tournament that would be held here,” Swapnil Mitra, a Class VII student who is coached by Mantu, said. “It would be great to watch matches and learn new skills.”

This afternoon, state tourism minister Gautam Deb, said: “In total, 715 players from different parts of the country will participate. A sum of Rs 50 lakh would be spent, out of which the state will bear Rs 15 lakh. The winners, along with medals and trophies, would be provided with cash awards totalling Rs 4.75 lakh.”

source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> North Bengal> Story / by The Telegraph Correspondent / Saturday – November 12th, 2016

How the Anglo-Indian community created two No 1 hockey teams

Stick figures: It was World War II that interrupted the winning streak of the Indian hockey team, seen triumphant here in 1936

Community set the foundations for the game here. And it was their post-Independence exodus to Australia that built up the sport in that ex-colony.

Every four years, a billion-plus Indians pray that our hockey team should win a medal at the Olympics, as it has done eleven times before. This year the Indian team does, indeed, stand a chance. But, let’s face it, India’s ‘Golden Age’ of hockey is long gone.

That Golden Age was between 1928 and 1956. Some pundits, however, would narrow it down to the period 1928-1936, when India, in its first three Olympics, annihilated all opposition, with the incredible goal ratio of 97:3, thus acquiring the reputation of being “magicians with hockey sticks”. It’s an era we automatically associate with the legendary Dhyan Chand. But it’s strange that many of us know nothing about the large number of Anglo-Indian hockey stars without whom it wouldn’t have happened.

A quick glance at the numbers says it all: At the 1928 Olympics, eight of the Indian XI were Anglo-Indians; at the 1932 Olympics seven of the Indian XI were Anglo-Indians; at the 1936 Olympics six of the Indian XI were Anglo-Indians. But, as Frank Anthony, an Anglo-Indian leader of the time remarked, the hockey talent of this little community ran so deep that it could have perhaps produced six times those numbers of world-class players.

Hockey maestros like Carlyle Tapsell, Broome Penniger, Richard Allen, Dickie Carr, Leslie Hammond, the Goodsir-Cullen brothers and Joe Galibardy — now long-forgotten — all played a key role in India’s dominance of the game. If Dhyan Chand was “the world’s greatest centre forward”, Broome Penniger was the world’s greatest centre-half and Richard Allen was the world’s greatest goal-keeper (allowing only two goals through all the Olympic games of 1928, 1932 and 1936, an amazing record). The other Anglo-Indian stars were not far behind in their prowess, combining a high degree of artistry with a robust aggressiveness.

So what was the reason for this domination of hockey by the Anglo-Indians — who, after all, accounted for only about 0.1% of India’s population at the time?

The answer lies in the fact that the game came to India with the British army in the 1880s. While the officers played cricket and polo, the ordinary British soldier preferred the rugged game of hockey. The soldiers first played between themselves, and then they began to play with teams raised from local organisations, like the railways, police and port authorities — all of which employed significant numbers of Anglo-Indians. Soon, hockey was embraced by the Anglo-Indian community as an embodiment of masculine virtue, and it became an integral part of the Anglo-Indian culture: every family pushed their sons to excel at the game.

It started in Bengal and by 1895 Kolkata had a number of great Anglo-Indian hockey teams, who battled each other in the newly instituted Beighton Cup Tournament: legendary teams like Calcutta Naval Reserve, Calcutta Rangers, Bengal-Nagpur Railways and Calcutta Customs. In time, leading teams from Mumbai, Lahore, Jhansi and other parts of India joined the fray. Thus, by the time India was officially admitted to the Olympic Games in 1928, there was such an abundance of hockey-playing talent in the country that choosing only 15 players for the contingent posed a problem. Interestingly, Britain, who’d been the hockey champions in the two previous Olympics, quietly withdrew their team at that point — presumably to avoid humiliation from their colonial subjects. They would stay away from Olympic hockey until the end of the Raj.

Meanwhile, Anglo-Indian players played a decisive role in India’s Olympic hockey triumphs in 1928, 1932 and 1936. And if World War II hadn’t intervened, they would have, doubtless, continued to do so in 1940 and 1944, as well. But after 1947 there was an exodus of Anglo-Indians, and this, obviously, affected Indian hockey significantly. The Indian contingent for the 1948 Olympics in London still included seven Anglo-Indians (it would have been eight, but Joe Galibardy, that brilliant left-half, had to drop out for personal reasons). But by 1952, there were only two Anglo-Indians left in the Indian contingent.

India’s loss proved, however, to be Australia’s gain. The Anglo-Indian diaspora settled mainly in Western Australia, and created a powerful hockey culture in the state. Soon the Western Australia team began to dominate Australian hockey. And that was the beginning of Australia’s emergence as a world hockey power — driven by Anglo-Indian coaches and players, like Trevor Vanderputt, Fred Browne, Merv Adams, Dickie Carr, the five remarkable Pearce brothers, Kevin Carton and Paul Gaudoin. In the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, when India played against Australia, there were five Anglo-Indians on the field — four of them on the Australian side, and only one on the Indian side. And in the 1960 Rome Olympics when India played against Australia, the rival captains in that closely-fought match, Leslie Claudius and Kevin Carton, were both, ironically, Anglo-Indians. Meanwhile, another great Anglo-Indian player, Rex Norris, was masterminding the emergence of the Netherlands as another major world hockey power.

Leslie Claudius, arguably the greatest of the Anglo-Indian players, saw India through to the end of its Golden Age, which culminated in its defeat to Pakistan in the 1960 Olympics. When he died in Kolkata in 2012, largely forgotten, it was the end of an era. In the Rio Olympics, the top-ranked teams are (in ascending order) India, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands. The No 1 ranked team, however, is Australia. There’s probably a moral in this story, somewhere.

The writer is an advertising professional and hockey buff.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home / by Anvar Alikhan / TNN / August 14th, 2016

Former umpire Subrata Banerjee passes away in Kolkata

The former umpire was one of the youngest in the country to officiate in a Ranji match.

KolkataCricketKOLKATA19aug2016

Subrata Banerjee, the former international umpire passed away in Kolkata today. Banerjee, 71 officiated in 13 One Day Internationals. The veteran umpire stood in his maiden first-class match in December 1967 during a Ranji Trophy game. He thus became one of the youngest umpires in the country to stand in a Ranji Trophy match, as he was only 22-years old.

He made his International debut in November 1983, when he stood as an umpire in the game between India and West Indies in Baroda.

In a career which spanned for 15 years, Banerjee’s final game was the match between India and Kenya in Gwalior in May 1998. However, his umpiring career spanned for 39 years wherein he officiated in 64 first-class matches.The 50-overs limited overs International between India and Pakistan Women teams was his final match as an umpire in any format. This match was held at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur in December 2006. He was also a television umpire during the India-England Test held in Mohali in 2001.

Off the field, Banerjee was closely associated with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), as an umpire coach as well as an umpire’s educator. Apart from this, he also served as the chairman of Umpires Committee with the Cricket Association of Bengal and was also a member of the Cricket Committee.

source: http://www.sportskeeda.com / Sports Keeda / Homepage> Cricket> News / by Manish Pathak @manishpathak187 / August 19th, 2016

City boy zeroes in on Rio bullseye

Atanu Das in action at the Rio Olympics on Tuesday
Atanu Das in action at the Rio Olympics on Tuesday

Atanu Das, the Baranagar boy who made the round of 16 in Rio on Tuesday, had taken his first aim with a bamboo bow. “It was made of Manipuri bamboo and cost Rs 1,200,” mother Aditi recalled.

When the Olympian-in-waiting started falling short of desired results in sub-junior contests, Atanu wept his eyes out, pleading with his parents for a fibreglass bow. “We are middle-class people. There was no way we could afford one. But seeing his determination, I closed some of my monthly income scheme accounts at the post office though the interest used to form a necessary part of our earnings,” said Aditi, a homemaker.

They then bought him a second-hand fibreglass bow for Rs 45,000. “It was so full of scratches that it looked more like a third- or fourth-hand one,” she said.

And on Tuesday evening, 24-year-old Atanu made good his parents’ sacrifices by scoring one perfect 10 after another – he got full points in seven of his nine shots in the first match – on the world’s biggest stage.

The bow with which Atanu shot down Nepal’s Jitbahadur Muktan and staved off Cuba’s Adrian Andres Puentes Perez costs close to Rs 2 lakh. “He has two-three top-class bows now,” father Amit said.

Late on Tuesday, the proud parents received a call from their Olympian son. “The wind, he said, was bothering him in the second match,” said Amit, who could not follow his dream of a career in football.

Atanu, now an assistant manager with Bharat Petroleum Corporation, was exposed to sports early. “I wanted him to take a different path. It could have been any sport. The Kolkata Archery Club in Sinthee happened to be near our home,” said Amit, who has taken VRS from the private company he worked for.

Atanu’s first coach Santanu Nandy remembers him well. “He was so serious that he would come straight from school for practice. When he won the sub-junior national championship on debut I knew he was special,” he said.

Baranagar Narendranath Vidyamandir used to let him off early and Aditi would take the 14-year-old straight to the archery club. “The school even excused him from appearing for his Madhyamik selection test.” He travelled to Jabalpur for the junior national meet instead, but only after his mother made him promise that he would do well in Madhyamik.

The call from Tata Archery Academy had come by then. But the boy did keep his word, getting a first division in his Board finals. Atanu is a boy of few words, said his parents who now live with him in the office flat in Bansdroni. Apart from the bullesye, he has his sights set on stamps. “He brings back stamps from wherever he goes,” said Amit.

And on Friday, Atanu has the chance to leave a permanent stamp on Indian sport with bow in hand in Rio.

source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> Calcutta> Story / Sudeshna Banerjee / Wednesday – August 10th, 2016

Kolkata pays its last respects to the ‘Diamond’ coach

In death, Amal Dutta unified the football fraternity in the city which has so long debated his methods. Dutta, 86, breathed his last on Sunday evening after a battle with Alzheimer’s.

Hundreds of football fans from across the state came to pay their last respects to Dutta who introduced many unknown facets of modern football to his charges over a career spanning more than five decades.

Knowledgeable and astute

“I regard him the most knowledgeable and astute coach I have ever seen. It is sad that his peers and many of the players he coached could not appreciate the immenseness of his knowledge and ability,” said former international Satyajit Chatterjee, who is now Mohun Bagan’s football secretary.

Dutta turned to coaching quite early in his life after having played as a midfielder with considerable success for teams like East Bengal. He also had short stint with the national team, turning out for India at the 1954 Manila Asian Games.

At a time when most of the coaches in the country were rooted in traditional methods, Dutta travelled to England to secure a coaching licence from the Football Association.

“It is a mystery that he never received the Dronacharya Award. Perhaps he never aspired for official recognition. But there are countless players for whom he was the real Dronacharya,” said another former international Surojit Sengupta.

Dutta, who introduced the now-famous ‘Diamond System’ employed so successfully by the Dutch teams of yore, rose to the peak of his popularity in the 1990s.

As coach at Mohun Bagan, Dutta had a spectacular rivalry with P.K. Banerjee, another legendary player and coach, who was in charge of East Bengal.

“He was a true fighter, and that reflected as much in his coaching methods as in his life. I am greatly saddened by his death,” said Banerjee, in tribute to his friend and professional rival.

Dutta also briefly coached the Indian football team, which went on to win the SAF Games crown in 1987. He later became the technical director of the National team for the Nehru Cup in 1988.

Goswami’s praise

Another legendary footballer from the city, Chuni Goswami, heaped praises on Dutta saying that his innovative thinking spoke a lot about his depth of knowledge of the game.

“His passing away fills me with grief. He is the one who introduced modern football techniques to our country,” Goswami said.

Scores of present and former footballers came to pay their last respects to Dutta, whose mortal remains were kept at Rabindra Sadan for the public to offer their tributes.

Dutta was cremated in the evening with full State honours.

Mamata’s tribute

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called Dutta a true legend and said her government would consider immortalising him by naming a stadium or a street in the city after him.

Dutta rose to the peak of his popularity in the 1990s

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sport / by Special Correspondent / Kolkata – July 12th, 2016

Bengali film star Jeet acquires Premier Futsal franchise

Kolkata :

Bengali film star Jeet’s Grassroot Entertainment Private Limited on Wednesday announced that they have signed a long-term agreement with Premier Futsal to acquire the Kolkata franchise of the league.

The agreement, for an undisclosed sum, makes Kolkata the second franchise to be sold after the promoters of football club Chennai City FC — among the oldest in the city — picked up the league’s Chennai team.

“Football has a huge, fervent following in Kolkata, where love for the sport is passed on from one generation to the next. It is therefore a matter of great pride for me to introduce the faster, shorter version, of the beautiful game to Kolkatans,” Grassroot Entertainment Pvt. Ltd director Jeet said in a release.

“Through futsal, the young generation can hone their skills and talent, which will uplift their quality and eventually benefit in long-term development of footballers. I’m certain it will capture people’s imaginations and thrive and I urge people to come forward and support our initiative to lead the Kolkata franchise of Premier Futsal to glory.”

The Kolkata franchise will be called Kolkata 5s. In the inaugural season, each team will be similarly named. The franchise-owners will then be allowed to rebrand their respective teams from the second season onward.

Premier Futsal managing director Dinesh Raj said, “It gives me immense pride to announce Jeet and Grassroot Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. Asowners of our Kolkata franchise. We are delighted to have a superstar of Jeet’s stature backing Premier Futsal and playing his part to grow it in what is football’s Indian heartland.”

“The response we have received from prospective owners across all cities validates our decision to get behind Futsal as sport. We will unveil owners of the other franchises very soon.”

Each franchise will be assigned a marquee international football player, seven international and five Indian Futsallers for their squad to participate in the inaugural season through a player draft scheduled later this month.

The league, which has roped in international stars like Alessandro Rosa Vieira, fondly known as ‘Falcao’, Deco, Paul Scholes and Michel Salgado will kick start from July 15.

Portuguese legend Luis Figo is the president of the tournament.

–IANS
dd/ajb/dg

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City> Kolkata / IANS / July 06th, 2016