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Mumbai Footy Cup 2015

Posted on Friday, May 15, 2015 by ARFAI,

Winners of the Senior Division with the trophy

Winners of the Senior Division the ‘Charni Road Eagles’ with the trophy

The much awaited event of the year for all footy fanatics in Mumbai, the ‘Mumbai Footy Cup 2015’ was held this year from 1st  to 3rd of May at Shivaji Park and Western Railway Ground in Mumbai. Organized for the third time, it showed how much the popularity of the sport and the enthusiasm of all those involved has gone up over the past few years. A total of sixteen teams which involved eight senior teams, six junior, and two girl teams participated in this year’s carnival. The Mumbai footy community now has players from different parts of Mumbai apart from the areas nearing Shivaji Park where the sport was first played. This led to formation of new teams and the old favorites Mahim Cats and Matunga Tigers faced some formidable opposition in the tournament.

The Mumbai lads have never been lucky enough to play on a proper football field during training and the matches. But this time ‘Australian Rules Football Mumbai’ was successful in procuring the Western Railway Football Ground for the tournament and it made for a very good experience for all the players. The organizing committee for the tournament was quite a big one owing to the fact that many friends and relatives of the players had volunteered. This enhanced the players’ experience tremendously as all the events took place in a smooth progression.

The qualifying matches took place at Shivaji Park which witnessed some intense battles in the scorching heat. The energy with which the kids played was very infectious and it invited a lot of curious by standers to keenly observe the madness of the sport. After a day full of tough matches and serious footy kicking the boys took it to the other venue for the remaining two days of the tournament.

The grand final in the seniors division was played between ‘Grant Road Bombers’ and ‘Charni Road Eagles’ and though both sides showcased their best footy skills the Eagles proved themselves to be stronger and emerged victorious with a lead of just seven points. The junior division saw ‘Mahim Cats’ and ‘Mumbai Central Giants’ battling it for the prestigious cup in the finals. The Giants startled everybody with their amazing skills and team work considering they were making their debut and defeated the more experienced side the Cats and won the Mumbai Footy Cup 2015 in the junior’s division.

DO3A9222With an amazing and exciting day of footy coming to an end it was time to award the trophies to the winning teams and special awards to the best players. To do the honors we had several chief guests present at the event. Firstly, Lincoln Harris who has played a pivotal role in the development of footy in Mumbai and who’s efforts over the years have built an army of footy players from the handful that first started playing. Rhan Harris, coach of the Salvo Hawks team also offered help in the form of umpiring and conducting footy clinics for all the players. Also present at the event were Helen Mell, ambassador for AFL India and life member of the West Coast Eagles who has been the most athletic supporter of footy all over India and Peter Cullen founder of Reclink Australia and Peter Ryan of Xavier’s college in Australia. The best player award Harry Buster medal in the junior category went to Harshad Tank of Matunga Tigers and in the senior category the Lincoln Harris medal for the best player was awarded to Gauraj Surve of Grant Road Bombers. Sumesh Sawant, co-founder of ‘Australian Rules Football Mumbai’ says, “The standards of the tournament and also the game of all the players have really improved a lot over the years. The Mumbai Footy Cup has helped to bring very good talent to notice and we are excited to form the new team for the state of Maharashtra which will participate in the National Cup later in the year. As for the Mumbai Footy Cup, we are planning to take it a step further next year by inviting players from all over the country to participate which will foster a sense of unity and community connectedness”.

Lastly, a word of thanks to our kind supporters India Unbound a travel company of Australia, Must Radio, Reclink Australia, West Coast Eagles and Reality Tours for encouraging the continued growth of footy in Mumbai.