This is a State which is very keen to raise its football standard, to host big tournaments like the Nehru Cup and the under-17 World Cup.

But, the woeful condition of the practice grounds offered to the clubs for the Federation Cup, which begins at the Nehru Stadium here on Tuesday, has upset some of the teams.

Churchill Brothers, the I-League champion, was very unhappy when it landed at the Udyogamandal ground here on Sunday for its first training session.

“When I went there, it was very disappointing. The ground was hard, you cannot even enter,” said the team’s coach Mariano Dias who left Udyogamandal without starting the team’s training and rushed to the Nehru Stadium where the side was given a corner of the ground to train.

“When you have such a big tournament like the Federation Cup, you should have other facilities in place, especially the training ground. Because training means, preparation for the match. And in a small place like this, how can you practice, how can you execute your plan.”

He said that Indian football will grow only if good facilities are offered to players.

“I blame the AIFF because they should have come and seen this,” said Dias. “If we want to raise the standard of Indian football, we have to give all the facilities. Otherwise, it is pointless having the Fed Cup or the I-League.”

According to local organisers, teams were unhappy with another practice ground too, the Maharaja’s Stadium which is also hard, while the Ambedkar Stadium, where the Kerala Football Association plans to have an exclusive football ground in a couple of years, is currently in poor condition.

“During my playing days, Kerala had beautiful grounds. I have a lot of memories about Kozhikode,” said Dias. “But now, I’m really disappointed.”

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