Thanks to various leagues and tournaments across the world,football has become very popular among Chandigarhs youth. During the last two or three years,over a dozen football clubs and academies have come up in the tricity,and there has been a marked increase in the sale of footballs,shin pads,studs and jerseys. Football academies have come up in various schools like St. Johns High School,Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School,Vivek High School,St. Stephens,St. Kabir,and Strawberry Fields.
The government-run Chandigarh Football Academy has 46 trainees. Of these,24 form a part of the senior football team and 22 are in the junior category. K.S. Bharati,District Sports Officer of the academy says that FIFA and world football have done a great deal in promoting football. Chandigarh lads are doing extremely well in football tournaments and thus,had reached the Semi-Final stage in the South Asian Cup,held at Singapore recently, he said.
Bharat,co-owner of Prime Sports,a sports goods shop in the tricity sells an average of 150-200 footballs in a month. He says that buyers are not only members of tricity clubs or academies but also youngsters who play in the streets. The sale of footballs,jerseys,shoes and shin pads have gone up considerably during the last one and a half years, he says.
Money,of United Sports,a sports store agrees. The sale of football related goods has seen a rise of fifty percent as compared to last year. He has been selling five to six footballs and the same number of jerseys everyday. Another sports goods shop owner,Sunil Kathuria of Sports Corner adds,The sale of football related goods has overtaken the sale of cricket equipment.
Other owners are quick to point out the effect of the ongoing Euro Cup on their sales. Though the craze for football amongst the tricity youths began nearly one and a half years back,the sales of the jerseys sold by me has received a significant boost especially in the last fifteen to twenty days owing to the Euro Cup. The demand for football related goods is much higher than the supply at my sports store. Jerseys of Spain and Italy are the ones in maximum demand these days, said Baljinder Kumar,owner of Shiva Sports n Wear.
Mayank,a final year student at Government Dental College and the Vice-Captain of the football team for the Euphoria Fest,expressed his passion for the game: I am an ardent supporter of the Portugal club. I seldom miss any match. I play football regularly despite the scorching heat these days.