The Parikrma Champions League kicked off after months of preparation and anticipation. 16 teams, 5 days, 1 winner. The day’s events started with all the teams registering. This was followed by the inauguration ceremony, which began with Mrs. Shukla Bose speaking about the history of the Parikrma Champions League (PCL) and her hopes for the 4th edition.
She concluded by reading out the coaches pledge that she hoped all the teams would follow. She also added that from the following year, PCL would support a venture undertaken by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), which mandated that players of all participating clubs would have to be registered with the Federation.
Following Shukla Bose’s speech, Mr.Giles Wilson, EVP Finance of Menzies Aviation spoke to the crowd about Menzies internationally as well as in India. He then talked about the partnership between Menzies Aviation and Parikrma before leading a roar in encouragement for the PCL. Finally the chief guest Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary of the AIFF spoke on the current state of football in the country, his admiration for the PCL and his plans to better the image of football in India.
These three speeches were followed by a colourful dance by students from all the Parikrma schools performing together to a medley of songs. After the dance, Kushal Das, Shukla Bose and Giles Wilson hoisted the flag and stood by as the captain of the Parikrma football team administered the athlete’s oath. Finally the tournament was declared open with Kushal Das kicking the first football.
Among the guests at the event was Ashwini Nachappa, professional runner and former Indian team member. Compeering the event would be JR from JR Sports Brief based in New York City. The crowd was enthusiastic in creating the Mexican wave every few minutes until matches began.
“The Parikrma Champions’ League is a very professional tournament with all the opportunities and facilities provided including the Federation officials. I wish the tournament and the players success in the coming few days.” – Ashwini Nachappa (Former Indian Athletics Team member)
“I think this is a great tournament which is very well organised. It is also a wonderful way to help the image of football. I believe more school level tournaments should be held like this which benefit the sport and it’s players.” – Kushal Das (General Secretary, AIFF)