Several of Goa’s best known footballers of the sixties and seventies assembled under one roof for the first time as part of a get-together, organized by the Association for the Wellbeing of Elder Sportspersons (AWES) at Casa do Povo, Goa Velha, on Sunday.
Football heroes like Candido Abreu, Alisab Sadekar and Alcantara Barreto, all formerly from Salgaocar Sports Club and part of the first ever Goa squad to take part in the Santosh Trophy in 1964 at Madras (Chennai), were in attendance among the 60-odd footballers and were delighted to meet their teammates, many of whom they had not seen for many years.
They were joined by members of the Goa women’s team that won the 1977 National Women’s Football Championship in Goa. There were also several other footballers, administrators – past and present – besides officials.
AWES is a recently-started organisation formed under the presidentship of former goalkeeper Avertano Furtado.
“It gives me immense joy to see all my heroes. I’ve grown up watching so many of you and to see everyone together celebrating football is a dream come true. At AWES, we will do all we can to ensure that you spend the rest of your lives with dignity,” Furtado said in his welcome address.
Former India coach Armando Colaco, treasurer of the association, spelt out the need for this organisation to be formed and said the exploits of yesteryear players will never be forgotten.
“Our objective is to recognise and recollect the contribution made by sportspersons, sports administrators and sports technical and field officials. We intend to render whatever assistance possible, whenever required,” said Colaco.
Sunday, though, was not just about footballers. There were officials too, like former director of sports RB Jirage, Jaisinh Maganlal and Damodar Bhonsulo.
Earlier, a minute’s silence was observed in memory of all former greats who have passed away.
The cake to celebrate the occasion was cut by five of the senior-most players and officials present at the get-together which included former Salgacocar players Candido Abreu, Alisab Sadekar, Alcantara Barreto and Suresh Kudchadkar, besides officials like Jaisinh Maganlal and Damodar Bhonsulo, all of whom were aged above 80.
AWES has promised to convince the government to take up new schemes and modify and implement existing schemes for sportspersons. The aim is to ensure that all former sportspersons live their twilight years with respect and dignity.
(AWES Press Release)