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A chance to make their presence felt

Beleaguered outfits Indian Air Force and Moonlight FC will get a chance to compete in the Lieutenant Governor’s Cup...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
March 21, 2009 12:44:56 am

After a forgettable season,IAF,Moonlight keen to make amends in the Lt Governor’s Cup

Beleaguered outfits Indian Air Force and Moonlight FC will get a chance to compete in the Lieutenant Governor’s Cup,beginning on Saturday,after 12 of the 14 teams that played in the DSA senior division league declined to participate in the fifth edition of the event.

Both clubs have had their share of gloom this season: former champions IAF faced relegation from the senior division and Moonlight failed to climb a rung from the ‘A’ division. However,vying for the second-highest prize money title in the zone should provide enough inspiration.

While it is an opportunity for the two teams to make amends,most tops teams staying highlights the lack of professionalism in the Capital’s football where most clubs release the outstation players after the completion of the two-month long DSA league. Only Indian Nationals and Simla Youngs from the senior division have agreed to participate in the tournament.

“The Lt Governor’s Cup marks the continuation of football in Delhi from the DSA league after the DCM was scrapped. Then most of the clubs were less dependent on outstation players. In the first edition it was restricted to Delhi only and the top ten teams from the DSA league participated. But now most clubs have become over-dependent on outstation players. The clubs should strike a balance and they should go for one-year contracts rather than a two-month one,” said DSA secretary NK Bhatia.

The organisers downplayed the issue,saying they are happy until the show is going on. “It doesn’t matter which clubs are playing. We want to promote football and we need teams to play. Moreover,you can never say,there have been upsets too,” said J Kaushik,member of the technical committee of the tournament.

The Moonlight FC management,after three consecutive years in the A division after the team pulled out of the senior grade due to financial problems,doesn’t have too many reasons to eye upsets though.

“I was surprised by the call yesterday. Playing in the A division such opportunities don’t come your way too often. We are out of regular practice since last December when the A division ended. The team regroups only on Saturdays and Sundays. The boys have been informed and we’ll try our best,” said Mukhtar Ahmed,joint-secretary of Moonlight FC.

For the Air Force team who are preparing for the inter-services fixtures from April 13-17,this is an opportunity to make amends and the honour of being three-time DSA champions surfaces.

“This is the best Air Force team this season as we’ve been practicing for the inter-services. Playing in the tournament itself is a big motivation for the players to perform here,especially after the poor season,” said coach Tapan Guchait. In the inaugural match on Saturday Jammu and Kashmir bank play Simla Youngs FC while in the second match BSF play Indian Air Force.

ONGC to face Pune FCM
ONGC will take on Pune FC on March 31 in the opening encounter in the final round of qualifiers of the second division I-league at Tau Devi Lal Stadium,Gurgaon,Viva Kerala will open their campaign against Lajong FC of Shillong on April 1 while Salgaocar will meet Sesa Football Academy the next day. The top four teams from the six-team group will progress to the elite I-League. Dates for the last round of matches will be announced later.

Fixtures: Mar 31: ONGC vs Pune FC,Apr 1: Viva Kerala vs Lajong FC,Apr 2: Sesa FA vs Salgaocar SC,Apr 4: ONGC vs Lajong FC,Apr 5: Pune FC vs Salgaocar SC,Apr 6: Viva Kerala vs Sesa FA,Apr 8: Salgaocar SCvs ONGC,Apr 9: Lajong FC vs Sesa FA,Apr 10: Pune FC vs Viva Kerala,Apr 12: Sesa FA vs ONGC,Apr 13: Salgaocar SC vs Viva Kerala Apr 14: Lajong FC vs Pune FC

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