The I-League season of 2012-13 is done and dusted with Churchill Brothers ensuring that the title remains in Goa for another year. Celebrations and felicitations were in full swing, but club CEO Valanka Alemao had something to say against the Goa Football Association (GFA) and the Goa Football Development Corporation (GFDC).
“Both the GFA and GFDC have displayed not only lack of sportsmanship but also double standards when they opted to congratulate Churchill Brothers on being crowned India champions only through two different newspapers and that too 10 and 11 days later respectively,” stated Valanka to Herald Goa.
Alemao clarified that they had not received any messages from Dr Rufinho Monteiro of the GFDC nor Shrinivas Dempo of the GFA.
“While we understand that the GFDC got their exclusive message only in one newspaper as reported by the newspaper itself, and that too soon after the felicitation function by Governor at the Raj Bhavan on May 17, the GFA President’s message appeared through another different newspaper and that too on May 18th. Obviously these are after thoughts as Churchill Brothers were crowned champions on May 7 at Tilak Stadium, Vasco and it was on May 12 that the I-League concluded when the team beat Air India and finished at the top with 55 points,” remarked Valanka.
|Valanka defended her father's passion for the game|
Alemao questioned whether the GFA and GFDC were non-political bodies or not as they congratulated the team only after the governor’s felicitation of the team. Valanka felt that the Chief Minister or Sports Minister not congratulating the team was understood from a political point of view, but expected better from the GFA and GFDC.
“It took them 10 or 11 days to realize that football and politics should not mix. Otherwise how is the silence justified?” questioned the CEO.
Valanka went on to praise her father for his contribution in the football scene at Goa.
“His contribution is there for all to see - twice I-League champs, twice I-League runners-up and thrice National Football League runners-up. When the GFDC’s job is to promote football overall with ultimately the clubs being responsible to portray it at national and international levels, and GFA’s to backup clubs and ultimately work towards the upliftment of football in the State, one is at a loss to understand the logic of both remaining silent for over a week which only smacks of double standards,” she said.
She spoke of how Churchill collaborated with the GFDC in organizing the Goa International Football Table (GIFT) in March 2013. Valanka added on how she personally felt that the money pooled in by Churchill for the event could have been used to better the turf and installing floodlights. The 32-year old also revealed on how the club and Salgaocar FC were pivotal in Shrinivas Dempo landing the job of GFA President and questioned as to why he sent his wishes to the team so late.
“Of course there were several clubs affiliated to the GFA, some Executive Committee members and several individuals who expressed their joy at keeping Churchill Brothers keeping Goa’s flag flying high. We acknowledge these with a deep sense of gratitude, but these were on an individual and personal level and not official,” commented Alemao.
The Churchill CEO brought to light on how her father was not invited for the inaugural function preceding the launch of the I-League in Goa. The function which had many of the who’s who of the Goa football scene and other dignitaries was held ahead of the first I-League match in Goa between Churchill and Dempo at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda.
She also mentioned on how the GFA allegedly did not cooperate with the club during an inter-club football tournament held at the Nehru stadium on October 27, 2012.
“Politicians will fight Churchill Alemao politically on the political arena. Extending it on the football field by football oriented bodies is not only unethical but also unsporting as the victory which reasserted not only Goa’s supremacy in Indian football but also reinforced the view that it is Goa and not Kolkata the Mecca of Indian football, belongs to all Goankars,” said a determined Valanka. She signed off by saying that sport transcends all barriers and such incidents should not be repeated.
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