So Kozhikode's romance with football is not over yet.

Last Tuesday, the final of the State football league, between State Bank of Travancore and Central Excise, was watched by a fairly good crowd at the Corporation Stadium.

"I was pleasantly surprised to see about 8,000 people inside the stadium," says Kozhikode District Football Association (KDFA) secretary A.V.M. Ashraf.

He was surprised because the National Football League, which the KDFA hosted a month ago, had ended up in losses, as very few people had turned up to see the tournament, though it featured five teams from outside the State.

"We incurred a loss of more than Rs.1 lakh at the NFL," says A.K. Musthafa. "But we collected Rs.67,000 from the State league.

The final alone fetched us Rs.24,000, beating our expectations; we never thought so many people would come to the stadium at 4 o'clock on a hot summer evening to watch a match between two Kerala teams."

The KDFA wants to bring the best teams in India to Kozhikode again.

"But we need floodlights at the stadium for that," says Ashraf.

"Only night matches will attract consistently good crowds. We hope the Kozhikode Corporation will lit up the stadium by early next year; we just had a discussion with Mayor M. Bhaskaran, who has promised us all help."