Pearls of wisdom!

Pearls of wisdom!

When the king delivers sermons all that the subjects ought to do is listen to the pearls of wisdom in rapt attention and subsequently take steps to put the ‘learning’ into practice.

When the king delivers sermons all that the subjects ought to do is listen to the pearls of wisdom in rapt attention and subsequently take steps to put the ‘learning’ into practice.

Promoters of football in the country should consider themselves as blessed souls because none less than the greatest ever, a world-conquering virtuoso performer has tried to drive in some sense into the self-proclaimed messiahs, free of cost.

There is no denying that when Pele talks football, it has to be one of erudition, which is precisely what he has done in Kolkata on his first visit in 38 years.

If he says that there is loads of talent in India, then he means it. There is a genuine sincerity in his observations and in his urging the policy makers to create adequate infrastructural facilities to give shape to the aspirations of millions of starry-eyed budding talent.

On the face of it, his solution to stem the rot is not extraordinarily new because the road to the future is in invigorating the system at the school level.

He did not actually specify school-going children but all growing up kids who fancy a career in the sport. This rings true because, like in Brazil and most African and South American nations,

football is generally patronised by children from the economically poorer sections for the simple reason that a ball and open land would suffice to play a game. Sadly, most Indian children play bare-foot.

The Black Pearl has urged the football authorities not to get disheartened by the dip in popularity. It was his humbleness that he actually compared the downslide to the situation that prevailed in Brazil after the 1950 World Cup home debacle.

Of course, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) should understand that at that point in time Brazil was a world champion many times over. If they could rise phoenix-like, it was because of the government’s avowed promotion.

Although, the living legend has mooted more and more international exposures, one doubts if it can transpire in India where the materialistic-driven bigwigs still prefer to pump in money into elitist or money-spinning sports like cricket, tennis and badminton.

The much-hyped Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme itself is biased towards select disciplines, making a joke of its very purpose.

One cannot actually blame the government because unlike the pro-active associations representing the successful disciplines, poor-man games like football, hockey, kabaddi and boxing are run by people, who are battling for one-upmanship within the fraternity.

AIFF would do well if it sheds ego clashes and fights for its rights, which should go beyond making a success of the Junior World Cup it is hosting two years down the line. More than anything else,

they should not miss the golden opportunity that comes courtesy of the great man – Pele has offered to help the Indian football to the best of his abilities. Nothing could be a bigger leveller or inspirational motivation.

Editor: Prof K Nageshwar

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