The plight of noted sports commentator and author Novy Kapadia confined to his home has left the football fraternity sad. Pictures of an otherwise vibrant Kapadia, now unable to move around even within his house without assistance, has distressed many who have known Kapadia for close to four decades.
“What pains me is the fact that Novy has not been paid his pension for more than two years,” said commentator Ghaus Mohammad, Kapadia’s partner on radio and television for more than 30 years. “His service to football is unmatched and it is time the football fraternity lends support to the man who did so much to popularise the game. This generation of football lovers owes it to him. His background of teaching ensured he had a smooth flow in his commentary and impeccable pronunciation,”
Having covered nine FIFA World Cup tournaments, the 67-year-old Kapadia is considered an authority on football in India. “Football has been a passion for me. It hurts that I can’t do my commentary now but I feel elated when my students visit me and friends drop in,” said Kapadia, who taught English at Khalsa College for 41 years and has been waiting to receive his pension for 31 months. “I have enjoyed my travels for football but now I miss all that. I am not able to step out of the house at all and have to use a walker when moving around. Football took me all over the world but that way of life has sadly come to an end now.”
Kapadia, who once owned the Ashoka Club and played active football in the local league, has been afflicted by motor neuron, a rare neuro-degenerative disease that causes the nerves in the spine and brain to lose function over time. “I have served Delhi University with all dedication and hope I get help at this stage of my life from the Government to meet my medical expenses,” he pleaded.
According to veteran football scribe Jaydeep Basu, “Novy is one of the finest grass-root reporters of Indian football. He has deep technical knowledge of football and footballers. I envy his understanding of the game and I am sad that he has been sort of neglected by the society. I am sure help will pour in for him to meet his medical expenses,” said Basu.
Football guru for some and football encyclopedia for others, Kapadia awaits to hear from the Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, who has promised to look unto the matter.
Taking note of Kapadia’s condition, All India Football Federation president Praful Patel told The Hindu , “the sports fraternity owes a lot to Novy. AIFF will certainly help him. I will also take it up the Sports Minister.”