The rise of Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) to its maiden BDFA Super Division football league title has been anything but smooth.

“It used to be a struggle to even provide our players with proper jerseys. The financial constraints were severe,” ADE’s former Director, K.G. Narayanan, said here on Wednesday. “We had enough money to purchase rockets and aeroplanes, but not enough to buy jerseys.

“I am delighted that our players are well-kitted now. To see ADE become the state champion is a dream come true,” he said, at a felicitation function at the Football Stadium.

“To get a manpower request approved is hard; a compassion transfer is even harder; to get resources for sports is the most difficult. I once visited the top-brass in New Delhi long ago to request for a bigger sports quota. He remarked that I seemed more interested in sports, rather than science,” he said.

P. Srikumar, the current Director, spoke about the difficulties in generating funds. “There are provisions to receive funds from the government, but given the existing economic constraints, it is not easy.

“We have devised a method where our football team benefits from a sports fund, which consists primarily of contributions from our employees,” he said.

Striker Raj Kiran, who sustained an ankle fracture after a horrendous two-footed tackle two seasons ago, said that the medical expenses incurred — which totalled nearly Rs. 1 lakh — were borne by the team management. “They helped me return to action, and now I am part of the title-winning team,” Kiran said. “It has been a difficult journey to the top, and we will everything to stay on top.”

ADE received Rs. 40,000 from the KSFA, while runner-up South United FC was awarded with Rs. 30,000.

In the season-ending exhibition matches, South United defeated ADE 1-0. DYES, the ‘A’ division winner, posted a 2-0 win over runner-up Student Union.

Other awards: ‘A’ division: DYES (champion) Rs. 30,000; Student Union (runner-up) Rs. 20,000. — Sports Reporter

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