Mumbai Feb 10, 2014: The Elite Football League of India (EFLI) is the first of its kind professional American football league in the sub-continent. They have brought in the best of coaching and training techniques to help the athletes learn and develop the technique and endurance needed to thrive in the sport which clearly shows in the levels of readiness and enthusiasm of the players.
To gauge the interest of the Indian audience, a pre-season kickoff event was conducted at Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad on February 8, 2014. The Gachibowli stadium and its audience of 18,000 sport enthusiasts had warmed up to the tune of a new game that promised to knock them off their feet and storm its way into their hearts.
As the players prepared for a feisty bout of intense action that was to light up the warm spring evening, the elite men that run the show at EFLI and the Hyderabad Skykings brand ambassador met with the media to talk about the sport and its future.
Richard Whelan, CEO of EFLI spoke at length about the physicality of the game and that the beauty of this sport would bowl over the Indian audience in the coming years.
Dr. Venkatesh Movva, President of EFLI expressed his desire to increase the popularity of American football and to bring it the same level of attention that cricket garners in India.
Actor Sumanth, Brand Ambassador of Hyderabad Skykings spoke about his love for the game and the thrills of following it, patiently explaining the nuances of the sport to everyone present at the press junket.
This was followed by the main event i.e. the three Pre-season kickoff matches.
1. Bangalore Warhawks vs. Delhi Defenders
Bangalore Warhawks played Delhi Defenders in the opening match of the pre-season kickoff. Delhi Defenders had scored the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter and with the converted kick, the score stood at 7-0 for Delhi Defenders (6 points for touchdown, 1 point for kick). The second quarter began with another touchdown and a converted kick from Delhi Defenders leading to a score-line of 14-0 at halftime. In the 3rd quarter, Bangalore Warhawks got back with a vengeance scoring their first touchdown of the night leading to a score-line of 14 – 6. The 4th quarter showed Delhi’s hunger for the win. Delhi Defenders scored their 3rd touchdown and a converted kick, winning the match with a score-line of 21 – 6.
Full Time: Delhi Defenders win 21-6 against Bangalore Warhawks.
2. Hyderabad Skykings vs. Mumbai Gladiators
The second match of the pre-season kickoff showcased a scintillating performance by the Hyderabad Skykings against Mumbai Gladiators. Hyderabad having home field advantage was prepared to unleash its game on Mumbai. In the 1st & 2nd quarters of the game, Hyderabad Skykings scored a touchdown with a converted kick i.e., 7 points in each quarter tallying up a score of 14-0 at half time. In the 3rd quarter, Hyderabad Skykings scored a touchdown making the score-line 20-0. Even though Mumbai Gladiators put up a good fight, Hyderabad Skykings closed up the 4th quarter with another touchdown and a converted kick leading to a final score-line of 27-0.
Full Time: Hyderabad Skykings win 27-0 against Mumbai Gladiators.
3. Pune Marathas vs. Kolkata Vipers
The third and final match of the pre-season kickoff had the Pune Marathas pitched against the Kolkata Vipers. In the 1st quarter, both teams went head to head putting up a good fight but it was the Pune Marathas who finally put up points on the scoreboard in the 2nd quarter due to a safety followed shortly after by a touchdown and a converted kick leading them to a score-line of 9-0 against the Kolkata Vipers at halftime. The score remained the same in the second half of the match (i.e. 3rd and 4th quarters) as both teams played exemplarily.
Full Time: Pune Marathas win 9-0 against Kolkata Vipers.
The expectations are high going into the regular season of American football landing upon the Indian sporting landscape.
Simply put, with the Indian audience’s eager understanding and acceptance of the sport, American football and EFLI are here to stay and they are only going to get bigger & better!