Kerala

When the Kerala coast gets a kick out of football

The schedule of one of the football tournaments in the coastal regions of Thiruvananthapuram.

The schedule of one of the football tournaments in the coastal regions of Thiruvananthapuram.  

With 44 tourneys, game dominates beaches from capital to Kanyakumari

The sun-drenched beaches in the State, especially Thiruvananthapuram, have produced some of the country’s finest footballers. The talents were unearthed from the numerous football tournaments which have kept the game alive in the coastal belt. Come December, and the football season is heralded in the region. From Valiyathura, near the city, to Erayman-thurai, in Kanyakumari, 44 football tournaments are held every year.

‘Sevens’ of the north

The football season in coastal region coincides with the Sevens football season in north Kerala and end during Easter. The duration range from a day to multiple days and format varies from five-a-side, seven-a-side, nine-a-side to proper elevens.

Though not as lucrative as Sevens football, the tournaments in coastal areas also offer prize money ranging from a few thousands of rupees to lakhs. These tournaments attracts top clubs from Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari districts. Besides prize money for the overall winner and runner-up, the tournaments offer a handsome kitty to the day’s winner. Usually the prize money is a percentage of the day’s gate collection.

The tournaments are held in panchayat grounds and have the patronage of the parish church and the whole community. Some tournaments like the JSAC South India football tournament at Puthiyathura and St. Mary’s South India football tournament in Vettucadu have completed three decades.

The tournaments have played a big role in improving the socio-economic conditions in coastal areas. Small shops selling sports goods to wayside eateries have sprouted in coastal areas.

The tournaments have played a huge role in keeping most of the youth off alcohol and drugs.

Now, the Little Flower Football Academy which functions under Thiruvananthapuram Latin Archdiocese has proposed the first ever Coastal Premier League involving these clubs. The CPL will be played in four zones and will be held next year.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 4:55:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/when-the-coast-gets-a-kick-out-of-football/article30314464.ece

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