Kerala

When mud football gave tribal youth in Nilambur ‘kicks’

Youngsters from different tribal hamlets in Nilambur taking part in a mud football tournament organised by the Jan Sikshan Sansthan on Friday and Saturday.

Youngsters from different tribal hamlets in Nilambur taking part in a mud football tournament organised by the Jan Sikshan Sansthan on Friday and Saturday. | Photo Credit: SAKEER HUSSAIN

Dozens of youngsters from various tribal hamlets in the Nilambur region shared an amazing football experience on Friday and Saturday when they contested in a mud football tournament for the time.

Excitement was palpable on the faces of the youngsters as they displayed their skills in the mud. “This can be a game changer for us. It is the first time we play in mud,” said Bineesh Peruvampadam, who coordinated one of the teams.

The Jan Sikshan Sansthan (JSS) organised the tournament for the tribal youth of Nilambur with the objective of preventing youngsters from falling prey to liquor and drug abuse. The JSS held the unique game as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.


P.V. Abdul Wahab, MP, kicking a ball to inaugurate a mud football tournament organised for the tribal youth of Nilambur on Friday.

P.V. Abdul Wahab, MP, kicking a ball to inaugurate a mud football tournament organised for the tribal youth of Nilambur on Friday. | Photo Credit: SAKEER HUSSAIN

“Engaging them positively is one of the best ways to wean them off vices such as drugs and liquor. Alcohol is increasingly becoming a major cause of worry among tribespeople,” said V. Ummer Koya, director of the JSS.

Eight teams representing different hamlets from Karulai, Chaliyar, Amarambalam, Moothedam, Chungathara and Edakkara panchayats took part in the two-day tournament. Nedumkayam hamlet from Karulai panchayat became champions by beating Karimba hamlet from Chaliyar panchayat 2-0 in the final.

Peruvampadam, Karimba and Moolepadam hamlets represented the Chaliyar panchayat because of the geographical vastness of the civic body. Pattakarimbu hamlet represented the Amarambalam panchayat, while Uchakkulam and Poolakkapara hamlets joined hands to represent the Moothedam panchayat. Chembankolli hamlet represented the Chungathara panchayat, and Ayyappankulam hamlet represented the Edakkara panchayat.

The tournament, held on a paddy field at Mannupadam in Chaliyar panchayat, pulled in tribespeople from various hamlets, including those deep inside the forests.

“Their talent is exceptional, but it goes largely untapped. If given proper training, these tribal youth can excel in sports,” said Mr. Ummer Koya.

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) district manager A. Mohammed Riyas gave away the trophies and cash awards to the winners. All teams were given a football each.

Lifting the trophy, the members of the Nedunkayam team cried out hurray. “We are lifting a trophy for the first time in our life,” said Sanjay, who was voted the best player of the tournament. Sreejit from Nedunkayam hamlet scored three goals to become the top scorer of the tournament. Unni from Karimba hamlet was adjudged the best goalkeeper.

The JSS is planning an excursion for the 106 tribal students who attended the SSLC and the higher secondary examinations this year to the Calicut International Airport and Kozhikode town some time next month. “Out of the 106 students, 94 have not seen Kozhikode town, let alone the airport,” said Mr. Ummer Koya.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2022 11:23:51 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/when-mud-football-gave-tribal-youth-in-nilambur-kicks/article65703731.ece