It is a tournament that has produced international footballers and that used to attract big crowds. The Kozhikode District Football Association is determined to bring back the glory days of the Kozhikode District junior football championship.
“We decided to revive the tournament last year, after a gap of more than a decade and we were encouraged by the response from the clubs,” said KDFA secretary P. Haridas. “This year there are 19 teams in the fray, all attached to the registered clubs of the district league.”
Only two of them remain — Universal and SEPT. They meet in the final on Friday. “The quality of football has been pretty good, and there are fine players like P. Akshay, who was chosen twice as the Best Player of the State,” said Haridas. “And we hope to unearth new talents too.”
“There are kids from the neighbouring districts of Malappuram and Wayanad, and we hope to attract from even more distant places in the future. We are planning to conduct the tournament on a larger scale and want to recapture its old glory,” said Haridas.
K.P. Sethumadhavan, former Indian goalkeeper, says: “It was one of the biggest tournaments of the season in Kozhikode and huge crowds used to come to watch important games.
“I had played in the 1960s, for Riders Club, and we went on to win the District league for the seniors too; such was the quality of the junior football in Kozhikode then.
“Like me, several players have come through that tournament, such as E.N. Sudheer, M. Prasannan and C.P.A. Majeed.”
He said he is happy that the tournament is being revived. “Tournaments like this are important if we want to make progress in football,” he said.