Nethaji Football Club, one of the oldest teams in the city league, has got a new owner for the season beginning next year. The club has been bought by Rohit Ramesh from T.R. Govindarajan, who is the only surviving founder member of the club.
While the MoU between Nethaji and Rohit was signed on Friday, the notification of the change in office-bearers of the club was given to the Chennai Football Association at the Nehru Stadium here on Saturday. Rohit will become the President and Vikram Murali the Secretary.
Founded on April 8, 1946, Nethaji was one of the top teams in the senior division league, even going on to clinch the title in 2008-09.
However, tough times fell upon the team when it was relegated to the first division three years ago.
Govindarajan said he was finding it difficult to run the club with limited resources. “Sponsorship was hard to come by and we found it tough to assemble players. We did our best, but couldn’t continue. I am now happy that the club is in the right hands,” said the 88-year-old.
The 27-year-old Rohit insists he has bought the club at the right time. His immediate priority is to put the club back to where it belongs — the senior division.
“It’s a pleasure to buy the club. I was keen on buying Nethaji because of its prestige and the fact that the club has been in existence for the last 67 years,” said Rohit.
“The first thing Govindarajan told us when he sold the club is not to change its name. Counting Nethaji’s long history, we made Govindarajan the life patron,” he said.
Rohit said he was retaining the 18 players of the club, and is now in the process of scouting for four to five more players. Rohit’s goal is to ensure Nethaji plays in the I-league. “So our major perspective is to change Indian football. Especially in Tamil Nadu, as there is no team from here in the I-league. And football is growing and I think we are ‘in’ at the right time,” he said.