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Players snub JSA soccer trials

With players choosing to stay away on most days, the just-concluded selection camp convened by Jamshedpur Sporting Association (JSA) raises several questions on the functioning of one of the state’s oldest sports outfits.

The four-day camp, meant for choosing a side for the 43rd All India Seshan Memorial Gold Cup (Bhilai, February 26 to March 9) and All India Bachha Rai Upend Rao Memorial tourney (Gopalganj, Bihar, March 8 to 14), lacked professionalism and discipline.

The camp, which concluded on Thursday, saw some of the probables making a mockery of the endeavour by skipping proceedings at the hockey ground of JRD Tata Sports Complex.

If the players were at fault, the JSA also displayed laxity as only two of four selectors kept a watch on the performances. JSA functionaries continued to show leniency towards erring players who gave more weightage to a Rs 1 lakh prize money tournament which is underway in Chakradharpur.

The erring players gave little respect to JSA pleas for attending the camp. They attended the camp only when they had no engagement in Chakradharpur.

The final day’s camp saw selectors pleading with players over phone to attend the camp. They remained focused on the entry gates of the JRD Sports Complex, hoping to spot some players.

It was only after the situation worsened that JSA thought of initiating strict measures by threatening to slap a one-year suspension on erring probables who failed to reach the ground on the final day.

Later, the JSA management decided to issue show cause to 12 probables.

In the end, 17 probables turned up on Thursday. Some who weren’t in the original shortlist, were hurriedly summoned to stitch together an 18-member outfit for the twin tournaments.

Admitting failures, JSA football committee chairman Ramesh Mehta said attitude of erring players was not good. “We are sending a team for outstation events after six years. Both are big events and we were serious about forming a strong squad. We may effect changes in the team if the boys fail to come up with a good show in Chhattisgarh,” he added.

JSA executive committee member Zubair Alam said the situation was unprecented. “Earlier, a large number of footballers would come to try their luck. But now they have been hooked to prize money one-day football tournaments which are held across the state,” he lamented.