One of the most disturbing developments in the ongoing 10th Administrators Challenge Cup All India football tournament has been the ever-increasing gulf between the favourites and the not-so-fancied teams from all parts of the country.
Sample this: the Chandigarh Football Academy (CFA),one of the star-studded and favourites for the title,scored 45 goals in just two matches,i.e. a goal average of 22.5 per game. While 21 of those goals came against newbie Young Challengers from Rajkot,24 were against Haryana Football Association,one of the experienced and far better teams at the junior national both Under-16 and Under-19 level. Not only Chandigarh,others teams,too,have been relishing the goal feast. In what till now has been one of the most lopsided tournaments ever,winning the matches in excess of 15 goals has no longer remained a distant dream for the stronger teams,but that has taken the sheen away from the tournament.
Daniel Lalhlimpuia,star of the CFA and Indian U-16 team,has so far scored 14 times and the tally from the two days alone can get him the top scorer award. However,Nishu Kumar,the defender of the team,has 10 goals to his name.
Both Daniel and Nishu are coming back from successful stints in the recent times. In fact,Daniel and AZ Lalramzauva (who is also the captain of the Indian Under-16 team) are the best in their age category. Though I am satisfied with the performance of the players,I am worried too. If we suddenly face a tough opponent,it will get very difficult for us as players tend to become complacent when the team is winning comfortably. One-sided results have created an imbalance in the tournament, said Harjinder Singh,coach of CFA.
The reasons for this imbalance can be cited from the ongoing festive season to state associations fielding weak teams and also the absence of top teams like Mohun Bagan Football Academy. Since we are taking part in the tournament for the first time,it is always good to win with huge margins. It will boost our confidence, said a player from Dalbir Academy,Patiala.
While Administrators Cup has been a fixture in the Chandigarh Administrations calendar in the month of September,this year the event was postponed so that the Chandigarh teams could take part in the event. Now that the Navratras are on,most of the teams have made themselves unavailable like Mohun Bagan,East Bengal,and Indian Football Association Kolkata. Since this is a national-level tournament,the state associations were asked to send their teams for the tournament. Sometimes the coaches accompanying the teams are not qualified and asked to take the charge simply because they are interested in football. That is the reason why teams dont fare well, said another coach.