Interview with Dadaso Awad: "It isn't easy to be a professional kabaddi player and a team owner"
Many of the teams in the inaugural Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) boasted of celebrity owners and so it came as no surprise that the Maharashtra Kabaddi League (MKL), which was launched last month, attracted similar interest. One of the teams – Baramati Hurricanes, especially, would consider themselves fortunate to have a renowned name as their guiding force, for Dadaso Awad, unlike any other owner, is a kabaddi player himself.
He is currently plying his trade for Dabang Delhi, and despite having so much on his plate, he seems to be in utmost control on and off the court. In an freewheeling chat with us, he opens up about the upcoming season, his involvement in MKL and how the sport has changed beyond recognition over the last year or so.
Here are the excerpts:
Q. How difficult is to don the role of a team owner, especially when you are playing professionally?
It isn’t easy, to be honest. There is a lot of running around to get sponsors on board and sort out the finances. I have friends though, who are in to sports management and are helping me out. Hopefully it will work out over the next few seasons.
About playing in PKL, it’s a huge opportunity for all of us, one that I couldn’t let go for anything. The league as we saw last year was a massive hit and in my opinion it’s the best thing that has happened to our sport ever. Also it helps me to stay around the best players from all over the country, that way, I can pass on what I learn here to the boys back in Baramati.
Q. Is there thus an emergence of youngsters who want to take up the sport?
Definitely, earlier it would just be a handful of us playing in the courts back home. But now, we have kids thronging in on a daily basis. It’s almost like the ambition of playing in PKL is driving them to devote more time to the sport and that’s an amazing thing.
Q. There were new rules being brought about in the PKL last year, something that’s being replicated in the MKL too. Are you in alignment with them?
Yes, the older rules made the game slightly slow. With the limit on the time of each raid (30 seconds), it has become more interesting. Also, even if we are 20 points down now, we have hope that we can cover up. And that, in my opinion is a great thing. I am hoping the international body for the game shall take cue and adopt similar changes.