Surat, Sep 17 (UNI) Gujarat is believed to be economic power house in India and has been on the forefront of activities pertaining to business and finance. Just like business, Gujarat is also home to many sports and has produced many world-class players but, state has given shortshrift to Football.
Surat District Football Association (SDFA) has lamented the fact that despite having produced dozens of National level football players, state has failed to produce separate ground for the sport.
Ground is a necessity for any game but, sometimes reality is harsher than imagination.
Kamlesh Dudhwala, president of SDFA said, ''There are grounds and infrastructural facilities for every sport in Gujarat but, State Government has totally ignored Football. There are cricket grounds at each and every city while other sports have some capacity too.'' ''Football associations don't have their own ground for practicing sport due to which they had to depend either on civic grounds or had to rent grounds for organizing interschool or college competitions.
SDFA (Surat District Football Association) has to depend on Surat Municipal Corporation for getting ground facility and it is also allotted for fixed time period.'' he added.
''Half the year, SMC rent grounds to fair or any event organizers without our knowledge and we had to evacuate the place looking for another space. This affects us adversely as, soil condition of all grounds are different and so is space of ground. After, fair is completed, ground is not re-worked which makes the place un-usable for 6-7 months,'' said Mr Dudhwala.
He said that the condition of football players is not any better than sport or its clubs. Many players have to balance with work and play while, some players are still searching for jobs. While, semi-government units and civic bodies don't provide job to football players like offered to cricket, swimming, kabaddi or hockey players. This total behavior shows level of partiality adopted by authorities between sports.
Even National players have to do small jobs like SDFA players, Nikunj Sailor and Mayank Soni. Both distribute newspapers everyday in-order to sustain his career in football. Mayank who is two times U-19 National palyer and Nikunj who has been selected for state U-16 team have to distribute newspapers to earn extra income. Duo distributes more than 1000 newspapers daily to earn nominal income of Rs 800 per month.
If such conditions prevail for any sport, then it is sure that some day, Gujarat will only be known for Industries only and people will have to remember only cricket. Something urgently is needed to be done to sustain sport culture in state and administration should think perfectly about it, Mr Dudhwala warned.
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