Mangaluru: Lack of facilities, poor maintenance hampering growth of football in city

Clement Pais
Pics: Ramesh Pandith
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru

Mangaluru, Jan 5: Football has a proud history of nearly 70 years in the coastal city. Mangalureans started playing football in 1942, but the game, though quite popular among youngsters, has evolved at a snail's pace here.

India is currently ranked 170th in by FIFA which speaks volumes about how football is growing in India. The situation of football in Mangaluru is just the tip of the iceberg.

Football is India’s second most popular sport, next to the game of cricket, but the interest shown to it is deeply disturbing. If football is supported at the grassroot level, we can change the face of the game in Mangaluru.

As a football fan, I decided to talk to the person who could throw light on the facts of football in Mangaluru. I met D M Aslam, chairman, Dakshina Kannada District Football Association (DKDFA), who has dedicated 25 years of his life to save football in the city.

Interestingly, Mangaluru has contributed many eminent footballers at the international and national-level. Sanjeev Uchil played for India in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics. Many players represented Karnataka as well as Maharashtra in the Santhosh Trophy.

Mangaluru currently has 19 registered clubs for Late Ahmed Master Memorial Football League tournament, organized by DKDFA, which includes 9 men’s teams and 10 women’s teams.

Football in Mangaluru was resurrected after the start of the district-level Independence Cup in 1997. The first Independence Cup football tournament featured 20 teams, and by 2014, the number shot up to 214!

Football attracts more spectators than cricket. Independence Cup is considered the ‘mini World Cup of Mangaluru’, and the fact that all the schools and private clubs are making their best efforts to win the cup is indeed good news for Mangaluru.

“Many persons have shed sweat and blood to help the game flourish and reach this level. One important name is that of Palli Jayaram Shetty, former general manager of Vijaya Bank. He served as the president of the Association for a long time. Whenever we were in need, he helped us financially. He loved football very much. Now, his family members are continuing the good work,” says Aslam.

Poor infrastructure and maintenance

But the game has a long way to go. The government support is very low and league matches cannot be held with merely Rs 50,000 which is annually given by the Karnataka Football Association. The league matches are being conducted with the help of sponsors like banks, former players, and MNCs.

A good turf is the need of the hour. “We are ready to make a turf ground here. But we are not getting the required support from the MCC and authorities concerned. Players cannot play their natural game without turf, because of the fear of injuries,” he added.

“The ground is used for public event and afterwards it is dangerous for players with smashed bottles, garbage, and potholes in abundance. After a recent public event, there was even a toilet dug in the ground. The football ground is used for public events more than football,” added Aslam.

“The football pavilion is crying for improvement, for a changing room, proper water supply, rest rooms etc. The female players face huge problems during the tournament because of lack of facilities in the pavilion. The corners of the ground are used for defecation and at night for illicit activities. Destitute people use this ground as a shelter, cook, and sleep on the ground. The parking space is used for parking and repairing trucks leaving oil and grease everywhere,” lamented Alsam.

“Coaching is done once a year during the summer vacation, The irony is that professional trainers are available, parents are interested in sending the children, but the ground is not free for coaching, and when free, it is not fit for playing,” he added.

What is the solution?

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, India's biggest ever cleanliness drive, is on in full swing and keeping this in mind people can stop littering the ground. Waste bins must be placed and the MCC has to clear the garbage often.

The ground does not have a gate and one should be installed and locked when it is not being used for football. The stadium has to be used only for football and not for public events. MCC has to find a solution soon in the form of an alternative place to organize public events. If not that, then an exclusive football stadium has to be constructed.

Nothing is impossible, we just need a willing heart and dedication, and of course wholehearted support from the government and private sectors. Let’s all wish that Mangaluru gets an exclusive football stadium and produces world class players.


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Comment on this article

  • Af, M'lore

    Tue, Jan 06 2015

    Typical 3rd world country facilities

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  • m.hussain, mangalore

    Tue, Jan 06 2015

    Thanks to daiji world raising the lack facilities for football. One way of promoting and improving game is to organise every year one month football training coaching session by reputed coach either from Mumbai or culcutta to the youngsters of DK. DKDFA must organise coaching session supported by corporate companies of Mangalore by sponsorship. i will support as co-sponsor

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Denver, Mysore

    Fri, Aug 28 2015

    Hello Mr. Hussain, I would like to start up tournament in Mysore from the ex-Indian football captain. i am looking for sponsors, please let me know if your interested.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • True indian, Kudla

    Tue, Jan 06 2015

    I appreciate your words Mr.Rizawan . We cannot blame any officials in this until and unless we unite together and stage a good protest not just by sitting infront of DC office and next day we spend our day asusual . We should pressurise our leaders. They are elected for the people by the people.Indian is the 2nd largest populated country but still we are lacking behind in all format of games other than cricket . We are 2nd in population but last in olympics . Its not because we dont have sports academy training,its because we people dont give much importance to it other than cricket. We are living in a country where people go to watch movies made on any athlete but not interested to promote it and where saina nehwal herself had to ask officials to promote her name for bharath ratna .Why is this happening, Dont blame anyone for god sake first we should change our mind set. We beleive what politicians say,we respect them like as if they are our god .If we dont utilise our strenght till them we will be just like a toy to them.PEACE

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • sharun kotian, bolar

    Tue, Jan 06 2015

    your absolutely right Rizwan if this ground was improved that is turf before 5 years there would have been world class football players from MANGALORE.Mr. Janardhan First of all throw all the old members in KSFA in Bangalore everything will be proper. I still regret that when i used to play football few years ago,there was not much support,and the greatest upset is most of the players are ed by influence and not by talent,maybe i dont play as much as football as i used to play,but football is in my heart and will be forever,I as a responsible citizen of India would like to help develop indian football(especially mangalore)and give all my support,the only thing is we need someone to be our leader and raise the issue and we will help in every way.even though football is the worlds favorite game,in India cricket has overshadowed football,football can improve the indian economy...brazil,germany,spain etc these countries have made their name through football,why not india? baccha baccha india mein football khelna chahiye...the first thing we need is a long format epl like league and try bringing young talent to limelight...isl is a short format but is in a success path and the organizers are really trying to make young talents rise,maybe a collaboration of i league and isl might work

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Achhu , M,lore

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    This worst conditions were there 2002 itself. . I lost 30 rupees during independence cup high school level tournament. Should remove slum tent.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Janardan, Mangalore

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    The foot-ball association is sole responsible for the misery of foot-ball in Mangalore.
    As an ex-state level foot-ball player, I would like to state here that, the foot-ball association is in the hands of few individuals for the last 5 to 6 years. They are not enrolling new members. Many State and National level ex-players were kept outside. Hence in the Annual General Meeting, only the office bearers of the association attends (8 to 10 members) and there will not be any elections. They nominate themselves for the forthcoming year also.

    Since there is no physical monitoring by the Karnataka State foot-ball association (KSFA), its carried on for years.
    There is 3-4 sponsored matches they conduct each year. The same tournaments are conducted every year. There is no State level or National level tournaments organized since long time.
    The KSFA grants Rs.50,000/- each year for the development of foot-ball activities in Mangalore. God knows where the money goes.
    My sincere advise is that, the association should come forward to enroll ex-players into the association by that new ideas and thoughts will be generated.

    DisAgree Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • vnayak, mangaloe/switzerland

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    India is the only country that has ignored football in favour of Cricket.In Australia and especially England it is not the case.In fact,in England, Football has 10 times the following and even more times the investments in Football than Cricket.In Germany, even a village has a proper football ground and a town the size of Mangalore has several clubs and professional stadia. This is because the game is run like a business (several times bigger than IPL)and profits are used to improve facilities.Just some government handouts are not enough,the game needs a total overhaul of infrastructure.

    DisAgree Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sandy, Mangalore

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    Development of Dakshina Kannada has been neglected by all state governments. They are interested in developing only Blore, Mysore, Hubli-Dharwad and Begaum.

    DisAgree Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • rajesh shetty, vamanjoor

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    tks daiji for a wonderful article,touched down me allot,instead
    we point fingers,who/why and cant,someone like minded,should take a initiative of public/private/partnership,to own-build and operate classy stadium,so mangalore football stays alive.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rizwan, Bolar

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    There are some private sectors who are willing to undertake the development program like Lokko sports. They were interested to set up academies with good trainers,upgrade the ground,good facilities I'm not sure if they are still interested. The problem is all the parties,groups etc etc are in a race to prove 1 is bigger than the other..little do they know how the players suffer. Harsh and deep injuries from the holes dug to install the poles for their rallies.
    I myself have experienced this. A humble request to each of the readers to join hands in this fight,it's not just the football ground but also the cricket ground right next to it.
    This has to be stopped.

    DisAgree Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rizwan, Bolar

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    The whole Ground including the hockey ground which is now turned into a bus stand was donated by some Lobo family. So that's how the fate of hockey was in m'lore so don't be astonished if the same happens with the football ground. No matter what "the beautiful game will go on & on & on"
    I request Daijiworld and Mr. Pais to keep up the good work and help us improve and save the ground for the beautiful game "only"
    There is an alternative ground for rallies or whatever near mangala stadium used for karavali is possible..So please please please do something about it.. Peace

    DisAgree [2] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shekar Moily Padebettu, Udupi/India

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    Good that daijiworld has the courtesy to highlight the condition of our foot ball ground.It is indeed,an international standard level ISO certified ground equipped with all the required facilities of international standard.We can hold many national and international level tournaments in this ground and even Olympics can be organized.Such a beautiful ground it is.24 hours security as in the second picture,well equipped kitchen for cooking and preparing food items,urinals,toilets and other required basic facilities are there.MLAs,MPS and other elected representative are there only for big talks but not for doing anything for the development of our beautiful city,which is losing its charm and identity because of so many reasons,factors.At least this daiji article will have an impact direct on these issues and sort out the issues at the earliest possible by the concerned authorities,departments in the best interest of our city.Let the foot ball players see the brighter days in the future and accomplish their long cherished dreams of playing good games in the city.

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  • Rizwan, Bolar

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    Well said.
    appreciate that.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, Mangaluru

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    I think the guy who is sleeping
    in the second picture is some official connected with the development of football in our country. Ranked 170th yeah??Wonder that it is ranked at all!

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sudhir, mangalore

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    Hope this news will impact and we see some developments. thanks daijee. Look at the last pic, is that kitchen for player's food ?

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • vellano1, Mumbai

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    avvu mostly morani new year g yera Kori beipaader.... lol!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • vellano1, Mumbai

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    congress dakulu yeeth jaaage padil budtinane sojiga!! .... Janna poojary lena next conference mulpanege! vhe vhe vhe

    DisAgree [2] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse


    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    I pity the football association of Mangalore who are doing their best to promote and encourage the game but with no support whatsoever. As a Mangalorean, I have seen both the Nehru Maidan and the football ground from my childhood. And, believe it or not, the ground is the same like it was many years ago. This is not only a football ground but also an easy access road for everyone to move from one end to the other. People have converted this ground into a maidan for various kinds of meetings and rallies, exhibitions and what not. Unless this place is completely cut out from pedestrians/public with a fully closed boundary wall nothing will happen. In fact, this ground can be multi purpose and be used for football, hockey and other games to cut maintenance costs. The local body and the politicians should assist with finance and the local business houses should chip in with their contribution.
    Don't expect any big time football success unless your home ground is ready. Everything else will simply be waste of time and silly talk just for the sake of publicity.
    But, then, is anyone really interested in developing our sports in Mangalore and helping the youngsters ??? I don't think so !

    DisAgree [1] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse


    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    Well said Aslam Bhai, I request daijiworld to go deep on this issue and make perfect football ground in mangalore (not event ground).

    Many politician and big names of mangalore has promised earlier that in future in this ground only we will find playing Football not other game,But no one kept their promise till now,

    DisAgree [2] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • future, Mangalore

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    With our central govt opening up land acquisition bill we might see a huge building of Ambanis, Tatas or any other Industrialists on this ground in near future.Cricket stadium in Mangalore is not yet been finalized. It will be a quiet burial for sports facilities in Mangalore in future if we do not raise our voices.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Naveen Shetty, Mangalore

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is nothing but another stage 'fake encounter' by white beard and black beard. The money spent on advertisements is nothing but payback by Modi and BJP for spreading the propaganda before the elections. All Govt. has to is ask the law enforcing agencies and public authorities to implement the laws for littering.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Nagesh kumar, Mangalore / Dubai.

    Mon, Jan 05 2015

    Foot ball stadium looking good more any drought. Looks like
    international stadium.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

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