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  • reddevil87reddevil87 1858 Points
    No worries dude!! Take rest and get well soon!!
    munna219777
  • namewtheldnamewtheld Kolkata5570 Points
    Get well soon mate!
    munna219777
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India27967 Points
    Finally some good news! After a brief hiatus, the 'saga' is set to resume soon. I will definitely post something tomorrow.
    munna219777archakDeb_Bannamewtheldreddevil87kartik91rudra
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India27967 Points
    Here it is. Posting the 1st part of Section IV in the next post.
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India27967 Points

    IV

     

     After having dinner, they had started chatting at the table. Most of the nights the four of them would sit down and share their daily experiences and their personal problems for some time. Today’s conversation had turned to Ghunu Mitra and Nilmoni Gargari.

                    ‘He called footballers donkeys and cows. That means, Naku you…’Intolerable surprise coupled with extreme rage could not let Rekha Gupta complete her sentence.

                    `Shymala sensed an opportunity. ‘A donkey or a cow. Samiran Gupta, do-co.’ She then whispered in Samiran’s ears, ‘Just like you have invented the word “beggar”.’

                    ‘Not a joke, Mala, not a joke.’ Himadri’s face turned serious. ‘Dada could not get to read the Bengali newspapers in Bangalore: then he would have realized that star footballers are really do-cos. Just the other day, I heard that Jatri’s Patu Ghosh had offered Sarathi’s Ranen Pal and Debi Maiti a contract of two lakhs eighty thousand. They told him that they would not take any step without talking to Bata Biswas. They came and told Bata that Jatri is offering so much to us, if you do not increase our money we will go to Jatri. Bata then told them that he would give two lakhs sixty thousand to each of them. Both of them had an arrear of twenty five thousand in the previous year, which was also to be paid off.  They accepted his proposal and took the advance. Do you know what they then did? They went to Patu Ghosh and said, if you give us three lakhs, we will return the advance that Sarathi has given us.’

                    ‘Has this news been published in the papers or are you making up all these, Kanu?’ Rekha Gupta asked, amazed.

                    ‘Auntie, the newspapers are still in the house, I can show them to you, it is the absolute truth. But I won’t.’

                    ‘Why?’

                    ‘Then you will not permit Dada to play football.’

                    ‘Why won’t I? He has learnt the game by hard labour; he plays dozens of matches in a year, why won’t he take money for that? When labourers, clerks give slogans, take out processions claiming better wages, increased salaries, no blame attaches to them, why should all hell break loose when footballers demand money? Naku, you play for those who offer you more money this year.’

                    Samiran laughed. Bending his head and thinking for a few seconds, he said in a slow, heavy voice, ‘There is much truth in what Nilmoni Gargari said, Auntie. Footballers have lost their self-respect themselves in many ways. This constant shuttling between Patu and Bata and Patu again just to increase their demands—these might help them to bargain for a few thousand rupees more but will the supporters ever place them on a high pedestal as human beings or will they be able to think of themselves as honest human beings? Just think auntie, what is the position of football compared to that of other sports in the country today? It is only in Bengal that there is some craze regarding football. If we walk on the streets, people stare at us, the boys want autographs. But in outside states, footballers do not have any honour because we have zero performance at the international level. Cricket has got this esteem since we have won the World Cup. That is why everybody runs after cricketers. I have seen this in all big towns, except those of Kerala. Why should it be so?’ Samiran’s voice expressed the anguish n his soul.

                    ‘But why should footballers be responsible for it?’ Having found a path to argue, Himadri stepped on the cycle of logic. ‘India never goes to play at the international level, so how will footballers be produced? Those who go to the cricket board are a better class of people and in football—Patu, Bata, Ghunu—these are the names. The names are enough indication of the class of people they belong to,’ Himadri grimaced.

                    ‘Kanu, you forget that the 1982 Asian Games was held in Delhi. To prepare our football team for the tournament, our team was sent to international tournaments a number of times. The Nehru Cup also started at around that time. India has played a total of thirty four matches in this tournament till now and won only one. We defeated Yugoslavia in Eden in 1982. India has scored seventeen goals, conceded sixty four. We have been playing so many internationals on home ground before our own supporters for so many years. This itself should have served as an extra inspiration to the players. Their only duty then becomes to protect their country’s respect, to increase it, to even lay down their lives for it.’

                    Samiran stopped and looked at the three of them. Auntie and Mala had turned serious. Kanu’s cycle tyres were being deflated.

                    ‘Every time India finishes last. Novacheck told me one day at the camp, “Sam, he doesn’t call me Samiran, is football played in your country? What sort of football is played? One can understand the lack of health, speed, stamina. But what about the basic skills? They cannot receive passes, their shooting power is zero, and they do not know when to release the ball. They are very poor in air; they have no sense of positioning. There is no provision for learning at the school level. Unlearned, unskilled players with poor health come to club football at an advanced age. Even there, they get no opportunity for improvement. With this poor health, they play continuously throughout the year so much so that they remain tired and have no desire left to improve their skills. Then, when they come to play at the international level, the quality of football that they play is evident in the results.’

                    ‘It shames me when I listen to all these. Then I get angry,’ Samiran suddenly sat upright and clenched his teeth, ‘I think of wiping out Kolkata football. They care for nothing else except winning trophies and winning the league. The whole world is moving forward; even our neighbours Bangladesh have left us behind and here we are, parroting clichés like strategy and tactics. These two clubs are spending lakhs in bringing players from outside the state. Can you imagine that Binu John, Albukark, Carnyle have now become the yardstick of footballers?  They are now the adored gods of the Maidan. People are trying to bring them here to corner me.’

    munna219777Deb_Bannamewtheldrudrareddevil87kartik91
  • Deb_BanDeb_Ban 9654 Points
    thebeautifulgame, great reading buddy. Some minor things: Wouldn't it be 'Vinu', Albukark with a whole lot of q, u & es, and also 'Karnail'?
  • namewtheldnamewtheld Kolkata5570 Points
    What a diagnosis of Indian football by Novacheck and Samiran!
    rudrareddevil87kartik91
  • Deb_BanDeb_Ban 9654 Points
    ... and all these, 25-30 years back ... so relevant today.
    namewtheldrudrakartik91
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India27967 Points
    @Deb_Ban: You are absolutely right. 'Karnail' was sheer carelessness on my part. I did however check the surname 'Albukark/Albuquerque'. Albuquerque is a very common Portuguese surname and is prevalent in Goa. However, there is an alternative surname 'Albukark' too, though the first is more common. 'Vinu' is the more common name in Kerala, though 'Binu' is also used. No matter, I will change them in the subsequent posts. Thanks for your comments. 
    munna219777
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India27967 Points
    Posting the second part of Section IV. Hope to finish the rest tomorrow.
    munna219777
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