A 5-a-side open soccer tournament was recently organised by the Statistics department of Kirori Mal College (KMC), held between the 24th-25th of February at the college Football grounds. The event was sponsored by the Indian Football Foundation, a charity organisation founded and run by veteran footballer, Baichung Bhutia.
Having registered a total of 39 teams in it’s last edition, the event was only able to play host to 17 teams this year around. This particularly relates to the event’s inter-lapping with the Inter-College football tournament at SRCC, causing several teams to back out at the last minute. This temporary setback was not of much relevance though, as it gave many pass-out students a chance to participate in the event. Not only did these senior groups of students raise the bar for the tournament, but they also introduced a more mature and tactical approach to the game.
Quick, fast paced, and based on counter attacking football, the initial stages of the tournament witnessed a burst of goals from all of the teams managing to qualify. By the time of the semi-finals however, this initial thrust of goals had slowed down, as the two finalists, Bhushan FC and Ravens FC only managed a 1-0 and 2-1 win against their respective opponents. The finals of the tournament was also another low scoring affair, with both sides focusing more on not conceding goals. Despite a solid defensive display by Ravens FC, Bhushan FC managed to score twice as they went on to win the match by 2 goals to 1. They took home a cash prize of Rs 12000 along with a customized Barcelona Nike ball, while the runners up received a cash reward of Rs 5000.
While the fourth edition of the Joga Bonito may not have been able to replicate the magnitude and grandeur of the previous three tournaments, a case can certainly be made on the event managing to hold on to its very essence and spirit. Prabhat, one of the organisers of the event, calls the event a ‘goodwill building exercise’, as this experience of coordinating the event will only help them organise the future tournaments with much more understanding and confidence. Building on this, he believes this practical knowledge of hosting Joga Bonito will most certainly play a key role in next year’s tournament edition.