11th Slumsoccer National Tournament: Goa champions!
The Annual Slum Soccer National Tournament this year saw an amazing line-up of as many teams that came from different parts of the country and displayed mind blowing skills on and off the field, in their enthusiasm, participation and conduct. In all the matches, the players showcased some remarkable potential, talent and sportsmanship.
This year’s tournament was unique in that many other organizations participated. There was Samarthya Foundation from Gujarat, Darbar Mahila from West Bengal, Lifesport Academy from Tamil Nadu, Dream a Dream from Karnataka, Maher Foundation from Maharashtra, WAG Chelsea from Delhi, Oscar from Goa and our very own Slum Soccer teams from Uttarakhand and Vidardha. To pick the best among equals would have been an onerous task, but for the play out results, where Goans came toppers followed by Jammu & Kashmir. Third and fourth places to West Bengal and Tamil Nadu respectively.
In all, thirty four games were played and the outstanding player, Pritish from Goa, rightfully won the player of the tournament award. Imran Butt from J&K was named the best goalkeeper. Several luminaries graced the occasion as Virendra Mahendru inaugurated the tournament and Darren Wilshire, coach of FC Barcelona‘s Escola did the closing honours.
Most players participating in the tournament include slum dwellers, recovering drug addicts and children of commercial sex workers. But they walked away from the tournament with a sense of pride and confidence. Even those teams that did not make the grade on the winning podium, like the Maharashtra team, were enamoured by the whole exhilarating experience, and were thrilled to be a part of a tournament, of such national magnitude. There was a lot of camaraderie between all the participants. The magical effect of the tourney will be forever treasured in the minds of all those who were there.
Dr. Abhijeet Barse, CEO of Slum Soccer and NGO Krida Vikas Sanstha said, “New Delhi is not just the national capital but the venue of the tournament is emotionally very close to all football lovers in the country. This will also be a huge leap for these youngsters to play at this ground. We are excited by the success of this year’s edition of the National Tournament and cannot wait to host the tournament again next year!”