Competitions Calendar, restoration of double leg in the Professional League and women’s football revival were some of the key issues discussed and decisions taken at the Executive Committee meeting of the Goa Football Association (GFA) held last week.
Elvis Gomes, President, Goa Football Association, informed that the grueling calendar of hosting nearly 1000 matches for any season needed to be streamlined for better management, taking into account grounds availability, referees strength, and other organizational factors. “Very often postponements are sought for flimsy reasons. We need to have a firm set balanced calendar which should have the endorsement stamp of every participating team manager”, stated Gomes. It may be recalled that the GFA organizes the Pro-League, First, Second and Third Division League besides the U-14, U-16, U-18, U-20 age group leagues.
The GFA may do away with the knock-out tournament to reduce the pressure particularly in the wake of non-availability of Fatorda and Tilak Stadiums due to exorbitant fees charged by the Sports Authority of Goa (SAG). In a landmark decision, the GFA has decided to introduce a 7 versus 7 format on pilot basis as an option to the 3rd Division clubs which sees the participation by the highest number of clubs, many of whom do not take the competition seriously.
“Members have agreed that most of the third division teams have to struggle to cobble up a team of eleven players and have financial problems. They take part to retain the affiliation with the association. Hence a more attractive 7v7 format will be introduced in the coming season giving an option to 3rd Division teams to participate in the main 3rd Division League or this format as a substitute. The decision has involved lot of research and the motive is to generate spectator interest. Sponsors are also showing keen interest”, stated Gomes.
In another major decision it was decided to introduce women’s football leagues in the U-16 and senior age groups from this year to promote women’s football. It was also decided to retain the U-15 boys and girls squad for refresher coaching throughout the year.
The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) delay in declaring Goa as Sub-Junior champions inspite of Jharkhand having been stripped of the title was severely critisized by the GFA Members. “We have written two letters to AIFF. Forget reply, there has not even been an acknowledgement”, stated Gomes. It was decided to write to the President of AIFF, Praful Patel, and request Shrinivas Dempo, AIFF Vice-President to demand an answer. “Even the announcement of AFC U-16 Cup is an unilateral announcement without informing the Association”, added Gomes.
Besides effecting some amendments in the competition rules to thrash out some minor issues, the GFA also decided to conduct two new entrant referees course for students in colleges.
Taking a clue from Mizoram’s success, the GFA also decided to aggressively push for Grassroots Development through the engagement of more and more clubs, and also to sign an MoU with the Goa Football Development Council (GFDC) to further promote Grassroots Development across the state.
Meanwhile, the Women’s Football Sub-Committee of the Goa Football Association, which met on Saturday under the stewardship of Chairperson Juliana Gurjao e Colaco, worked out the execution of the various women’s football competitions. The Committee decided to focus on produce more women’s coaches, and proposed to organise a seminar for women’s footballers, coaches and aspirants in mid-July.
A long term plan for building a strong Women’s Senior Team keeping the National Games and the National Championships in the focus was deliberated. It was decided to conduct an inter-school U-18 tournament to support the Goa University Tournament for colleges.