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As the recession-hit club struggles to pay monthly salaries,footballers are playing to get noticed
One of the high-budget clubs in the Capital,New Delhi Heroes have faced the effects of recession: the ownership has changed hands from a corporate body to a sports management company and the club had to let go more than half-a-dozen players. Ironically,however,the teams stock has soared during the crisis as they played the main round of the Federation Cup and also upset current I-League leaders Sporting Clube de Goa in the same tournament.
It hasnt been so easy. Sometimes football isnt just about money. If theres a choice between playing the game for money or for the love for football,its the second reason were playing for. Losing seven-eight players when we were getting together as a team did affect us,now some of the players are not getting the sum they were promised,but at times you have to keep playing to sell yourself to others.
Ive tried to motivate the players by talking to them before every match,but theres a difference when you are forced to play and when you are willing, said skipper Stanley.
The end of the season might be what a couple of the nine former I-league players are waiting for,having struck a compromise.
Players arent motivated at all. We are playing for ourselves. Our one-months salary is due. There hasnt been too much support from the management either. The season is drawing to a close and thats why we settled with the crunched contract. But if this goes on,most of the players might not rethink before leaving, said Zaheer Abbas,a former Air India player.
Youngster Marlanki Suiting,ripe with the experience of playing for Mohun Bagan and East Bengal,is certain to take the ultimate step even if a lucrative offer doesnt come his way,but there might be light at the end of the tunnel if Saturdays make-or-break second division I-league tie against Pune FC-yields a positive result. A victory will take the Delhi club to the main round of the event a big step towards their goal of playing one-rung higher in the I-League.
Our previous sponsors went back. Our salaries got cut. Obviously weve something on our minds. Whenever we are on the ground we try to forget everything else and play. At the moment tomorrows match is very crucial. I dont know what will happen if we lose. I dont think players will stay and Ill quit for sure. Making a team of similar strength will be very difficult, Marlanki said.
The management doesnt differ and takes evasive action setting its eyes on Saturdays match. Yes a months salary is due. But this is a temporary phase which most clubs have gone through. Thereve been financial problems,but were only a sports management company.
When everything is taken away by a sport (cricket),theres an increasing need of corporate bodies coming forward. Some entities have shown interest but itll depend on tomorrows match. Our clubs future depends on it, said Neerav Tomar,New Delhi Heroes managing director.