Players of Aizawl FC, Mizoram, practise at JRD Tata Sports Complex in Bistupur on Monday, the eve of the 2012 Federation Cup qualifiers. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Will Ranchi’s loss be Jamshedpur’s gain?
The question is hogging drawing room discussions in the soccer-friendly steel city with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) withdrawing the 2012 Federation Cup from the capital on Monday.
The prestigious tournament was withdrawn from Ranchi after a final inspection by AIFF vice-president and Cup chairman Ankur Gupta bared the deplorable condition of two proposed, but poorly maintained, venues — Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium in Hotwar and Birsa Munda Football Stadium in Morabadi.
Though nothing is official about whether the AIFF would shift the big-ticket event to Jamshedpur, which is all set to host the qualifiers from Tuesday, there is a buzz that the Cup matches may eventually fall in the better prepared steel city’s kitty.
A final decision is expected by Tuesday morning after Gupta holds talks with senior functionaries of the Tata Steel sports department.
“Tata Steel vice-president Sanjiv Paul and sports department head Captain Amitabh had been out of town. The former has returned, but the latter will arrive tomorrow. The AIFF decision will be based on a meeting with the senior officers,” a source said.
The source claimed that while the Tatas were ready to host Federation Cup, the AIFF too was keen on Keenan. “But, since the Bistupur-based stadium has been tagged “cricket exclusive”, a decision is awaited from the company management,” he added.
The Jharkhand Football Association (JFA) is also in talks with AIFF on the match relocation matter. “We were very keen to host the mega event in Ranchi. But, Jamshedpur is certainly an option. We are in talks with the federation,” said JFA secretary Ghulam Rabbani.
Meanwhile, the steel city is all geared up for the Federation Cup qualifiers. Four outfits — Mohammedan Sporting, Kalighat Milan Sangha, Royal Wahingdoh FC (Meghalaya) and Aizawl FC (Mizoram) — have already arrived in Jamshedpur.
Vasco Sporting Club (Goa) is dropping anchor on Tuesday, while Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (Bangalore) will follow suit on Wednesday.
The qualifying rounds are being organised by Tata Steel in association with JFA under the aegis of AIFF. Two teams will find berth in the tournament after the six-day qualifiers.