Enterprise and the occasional dash were on show, especially by speedy quarter-back Ronnit Banda and S. Raj Kumar

A decent boisterous crowd welcomed American football to the twin cities at the Begumpet Police Hockey Stadium on Saturday night. Skykings (Hyderabad) came back roaring from 13-20 deficit to score a surprising 26-20 win over the Warhawks (Bangalore) in an exhibition match organised under the aegis of Elite Football League of India.

Makeshift floodlights made for a pleasant ambience at the venue. Incidentally, this was the first-ever American Football match in the country where players from both outfits were dressed in typical AFL attires.

For those who follow the sport regularly on television, there was a yawning chasm between the quality of game played here on Saturday and the ones in the US. But the enterprise and the occasional dash on the field, especially by speedy quarter-back Ronnit Banda — who arrived in the city on Friday after a month of intensive training in Canada — was enough to draw cheers from the crowd.

Film stars Sumanth and Manchu Manoj were also around to support the game.

And it was not a game where a winner or loser mattered.

“This is just the beginning and we want to promote the sport big time,” says Venkatesh Movva, owner of Skykings, pleased with the response.

There were also sparks of brilliance from the likes of Ronnit, a student of Arora Engineering College, the live-wire in the home team’s win. S. Raj Kumar was another player who made an impact.

Mr. Movva is also planning to lay artificial grass, more suited for this sport, at Gachibowli for the EFL later this year, if the State government permits.


Watch out, American football is hereJuly 16, 2013

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