|A St. James’ School player moves forward with the ball in a group match against
St. Xavier’s Collegiate School in the Keventer Cup inter-school tournament organised by Debanjan Sen Foundation with TTIS. Picture by Sayantan Ghosh
Germany shattered Rishav Das’s Argentina dream at Rio but he is nursing one more close to his heart: help his school win the Keventer Cup for the first time.
“It’s like our World Cup and we want to win it this time,” said the Class XII student of St. James’ School. The boy with a gifted left foot wears No. 10 on his blue jersey — much like LM10, his idol.
He has made a mark already, with two goals and one assist in the group stage of the ongoing inter-school football tournament organised by Debanjan Sen Foundation in association with TTIS. He was Man of the Match in one game.
The tournament entered the knockout phase on Thursday, a stage where Rishav and his teen tribe dream to imitate the glory of Germany or heal deep wounds they suffered at the loss of their favourite teams in Brazil.
The third edition of Keventer Cup started with 28 teams divided into six groups. The first four groups had five teams each while the other two had four each. The top three from the five-team groups and two each from the rest are playing in the round of 16.
The matches are held at four schools — La Martiniere for Boys, St. James’ School, St. Lawrence High School and St. Thomas’ Boys’ School, Kidderpore. The Heritage School will host the final on July 26.
St. James’ School: Last year’s semi-finalists are one of the most balanced sides in the group stage and tipped to win the trophy.
Like Joachim Loew’s men steamrolling Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal 4-1 in their World Cup opener, St. James’ scored a goal every four minutes in the 60-minute match to demolish National High School for Boys 15-0 in their first match. They netted 26 goals in four group games, conceding just two.
St. Xavier’s Collegiate School: Playing in an orange jersey, their game promises a Dutch flair. They beat Scottish Church Collegiate School 5-1, the margin that The Oranje brought about against Spain in the World Cup. The Xaverians faced their toughest challenge from St. James’ on Monday, securing a 2-2 draw with comeback goals.
“Our team lost in the quarter-finals last year to St. Anthony’s Higher Secondary School, Shillong, the eventual champions. I was out because of a ligament injury. This is my first Keventer Cup and I would give my best to win the trophy,” said Rheshob Ghosh, a Class XII student with a left foot that rivals fear when he is flying down the wing like idol Arjen Robben. Rheshob wants to win the tournament to forget a “bad night” — Holland’s loss to Argentina in the World Cup semis.
St. Lawrence High School: They lost the final last year by two goals to St. Anthony’s Higher Secondary School, Shillong, and are more than itching to lay their hands on the trophy this year. They started off well with a 4-0 thrashing of The Heritage School and a 5-2 demolition of Calcutta International School.
The attacking side has the best defence in goalie Robin Thomas, who is doing a Guillermo Ochoa for his squad. Robin was the “golden glove” winner last year.
Delhi Public School Newtown: They are the Colombia of the tournament. The first-timers made their mark winning two group games with four-goal margins and showed the potential to upset any favourite team any day.
Twins Ved and Rik Sinha of Class XII played key roles in their team’s success. Rik scored four goals; Ved netted three. Ved had played for the Mohun Bagan under-19 team for two years. Idol: Ronaldo; favourite team: Germany; dream: win the cup on his school’s debut. That’s Ved in a nutshell.