Going by performance, there is little difference between the two teams, except that the Goans have been more consistent. But a couple of really talented players in Kerala will find tremendous support from the raucous home crowd.
The big man in the team, I.M. Vijayan, seems to have recovered well from his arthroscopic surgery in the knee, though unsure in endurance. That was his nemesis in the quarter final versus Bengal, when he moved into the attacking line from his initial position as half-line game-maker. Crowd pressure saw the striker move ahead of the field, but what he was doing pretty well in feeding was not replicated in the attack line and the sting went out.
That also shows the great dependence of coach Rajeev on the start value of the striker rather than the utility value of the team. Goa are better off this way. They have learnt to tackle problems as a team and through teamwork. That could stand them in good stead on the morrow.
Coach Markus Pachelo says his team is looking forward to the semi-final, but also concedes that he will have to look out for the stars in the Kerala side. �Yes, players like Vijayan and Edilson and Ignatious will need to be marked carefully if and when they enter our defensive third,� said the coach.
However, that is only to the extent that the Kerala side is on the offensive. �Once we hit back, we can afford to dismantle these defensive shackles,� Pachelo said.
Easier said than done, especially against a team of the calibre of Kerala, at their home ground. Pachelo, though, is not one to be despondent. The Marmagao Port Trust coach has in mind the weaknesses in his team � how Alvito D�Cunha has not been able to get enough feed for his attacks, or how there could be a small chink showing on the left back region.
�My other forward, Levy Coelho, who I introduced later in the match yesterday (versus Maharashtra in the last quarter-final group match), is faster than D�Cunha. He should be able to get things moving even if there is a marker on D�Cunha,� said the coach.
That has Goa with an option in the front line. Bruno Coutinho has yet to recover from his early-year accident and is too slow to be effective in any manner for the team.
Finally, things often fall back on the abilities of goalkeeper Juje Siddi. He has been a solid bastion of support and confidence for the team and there is, perhaps, the first line of offence as well, considering the �keeper�s penchant for action.
Pachelo laments that he had only six days to prepare his team for this meet. �Of that, I could get all my stars only for the last four working days.�
The team looks good enough for another final entry, though.
The players will be advised of the following guidelines as laid down by Lord Griffith to the ICC.
It will be an obligation on the part of the players to report to the team manager any approach made to them by the bookmakers, or knowledge of such approach to any other player.
The failure to make such report will be a punishable offence.
If a player is found guilty of accepting money from a bookmaker for any reason, the penalty will be exemplary, including a sizeable suspension and that, the reason will be made public.
The BCCI through its affiliated units should ensure that all players are apprised that betting and match-fixing are strictly not permitted.
The players should be warned that bookmakers and betting syndicates might try to corrupt them and that, they should be aware of the serious consequences of their ever taking bookmakers� money.
Where approaches are made to the players by or on behalf of the bookmakers, the local police should be informed as soon as possible, so that criminal investigations may be initiated.
While Steve�s top programme tomorrow will be gracing the fund-raiser in a city hotel, Thursday morning will find him at Udayan, in Barrackpore.
Besides formally inaugurating Nivedita House, Steve will address a Media conference and, perhaps, have a short game of cricket with the Udayan boys.
Steve will leave for home Friday evening but, before that, will interact with schoolkids at the CCFC that morning.
Consider this year�s meet, here. The organisers, the Thrissur District Football Association (TDFA), had budgeted an expense of Rs 54 lakh for the meet.
The income has been pretty poor, compared to that. �Yesterday, for example, for the last quarter final group league match (between Maharashtra and Goa), the collection was a meagre Rs 23,000,� said Mr N.D. Johnson, treasurer of the TDFA.
The main income days have been the Kerala match days. �Our average income from these Kerala matches has been in the region of Rs 8 lakh,� he said. �For the match versus Bengal we collected Rs 8,35,000.
Otherwise, even for Bengal matches, the collection has stagnated in the region of Rs 20-25,000.� The TDFA earned Rs 14,19,202 from organising the cluster matches in Chalakudy (near here) and collection so far has been Rs 26,16,730.
�The semi-final involving Kerala is expected to yield another Rs 8.5 lakh and we hope Kerala reaches the final, because we have Rs 100 (chairs) and Rs 50 (galleries) tickets there and we can hope to pick up a tidy Rs 10 lakh or so,� he said.
Despite the Thrissur municipality giving Rs 2.5 lakh for ground development, and another Rs 1 lakh coming in as matching grant, there will be a decent shortfall, and organisers are just hoping for a break-even at least.
The dot.com story
However, even with the tournament proper in such a pitiable state, there is a group of youngsters here who have been trying in their own way to popularise the tournament in the country and abroad. These kids, led by Vinay Verma Raja, (site director), have set up the website santoshtrophy.com and are doing stellar work on this.
�We have received no sponsorship banner, but we have received mails from the US to show how we have been on the �hit� list of browsers,� said the Kochi-based Raja.
Raja, himself a management degree-holder from a US University, is back in the country (to �sort out family interest issues�), has brought together a couple of technocrats from a local institute.
�They (Nandan Pillai and V.R. Lyju) are capable people, but this happens to be their first major project,� said Raja.
But why the Santosh Trophy, and why Indian soccer anyway? Is there enough interest?
�Look, I can give a comparison. Look at the attendance in Ranji Trophy matches, even if Sachin Tendulkar is playing, and look at the Santosh Trophy attendances. Is there any comparison? There must be a market for this, a good market.�
Brilliant logic, but probably it will take more than logic and steady, hard-nosed 15-minute updates on the tourney, to convince the All India Football Federation that there are ways other than the shady, mean and under-the-table to make the sport more popular and make money as well.
The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) chief had �revealed� recently that the India versus New Zealand first-leg match during the Sharjah tri-series, two years ago, was rigged. Bindra also stated that former managers and coach Madanlal had mentioned the names of Mohammed Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar and Ajay Jadeja in their tour reports for their involvement in match-fixing.
Terming them as �incorrect and untrue�, the BCCI today informed the International Cricket Council (ICC) that it would direct former presidents, Raj Singh Dungarpur and Bindra � during whose tenures the tours in question took place � to forward the reports of Sunil Dev, Madanlal, D.V. Subba Rao, Brijesh Patel and Jyoti Bajpai to the sports ministry and the Delhi police.
Bindra had also claimed that a former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) secretary had tipped him off during the Sharjah tie and that he had reprimanded three India cricketers, during his tenure as BCCI president, for their involvement in match-fixing.
The Board, stating that it had no knowledge of any such incident, would make all efforts to obtain the names and forward them to the ICC before its �emergent meeting�, starting May 2.
The BCCI would also request Bindra and Sunil Dev to reveal all available information and evidence on betting and match-fixing to the police.
�The truth must be revealed, the smoke must be cleared,� insisted ICC president Jagmohan Dalmiya.
Paikpara rode Amitava Roy�s 116 and Prabir Mukherjee�s 72 to reach 308. In reply, Barisha�s Shome Kapoor�s hundred went in vain as they fell short. Manik Sengupta made 58.
Diehards, nevertheless, may still be expecting the normalcy to return and the favourites, in stead of their connection-mates, finding the winning brackets. However, the public-choice which may win is Jeweller in the feature, the Ardiles Cup. The Vijay Singh-trainee was an unextended fourth in his maiden start. Still held in esteem, Cristopher Alford partners the four-year-old.
Cristopher may also be seen at advantage on Avionic, in the Gridiron Handicap, and again in the Quincy Handicap on All Heart who has migrated from Bangalore after her unsuccessful stints against formidable opposition.
Cristopher�s Annalee, too, has a fighting chance against Privy Council in the lower division of the Espoir Handicap.
Read as: Horse number, last four runs, horse name, trainer, jockey, weight & draw:
Gridiron Handicap 1,400m (Cl V�Rated 00-28) Indian jockeys only
1 0000 Art Smart [Karki] E. Smith 61.0 6
2 3140 Aristotemus [R.Shaw] G. Upadhya 60.0 4
3 0043 Avionic [Bharath] C. Alford 60.0 1
4 0321 Swingtime [Jaiswal] Rutherford A. (5kg extra) 62.5 2
5 3024 Kinkozan [Goenka] P. Alford 57.0 3
6 - 000 Armila [Vijay] Md Amil 53.0 7
7 0000 Solid Gold [Jaiswal] Som S. 47.5 5
1. Avionic (3) 2. armila (6) 3. swingtime (4)
Avionic: Knocking at the door. This could be his day. Armila: Stronger handling of Amil may work to his advantage. Swingtime: May contest the issue again..
Ardiles Cup1,400m (Cl II � Rt. 66-94)
1 0000 Kansai [Bharath] Manohar S. 60.0 4
2 0004 Jeweller [Vijay] C. Alford 58.0 3
3 3302 Remember The Day [R. Alford] P. Alford 56.5 1
4 2110 Gentle Priest [Bharath] Md Islam 56.5 2
5 4111 Allodium [Bharath] S. Rabani 56.5 5
6 0324 Citadel [Bharath] S. Shanker 55.5 6
1. jeweller (2) 2. allodium (5) 3. citadel (6)
Jeweller: A good fourth. On his Mumbai form he has potential to win. Allodium: On a winning spree. May make it four-in-a-row. Citadel: Upset, if any
Espoir Handicap, Div-I 1,100m (Handicap, 3-y-o only � Rt. 00-28)
1 4430 Abstone Queen [R. Alford] R. Gowli 60.0 7
2 - -34 Crucible [Vijay] Surender S. 59.5 4
3 - - -3 Ardon [R. Alford] Rutherford A. 58.0 9
4 -404 Eau Savage [Stephens] S. Shanker 58.0 10
5 ---- Fencai late Prodigious [Javed] M. Reuben 57.5 8
6 -040 Airs Image [R. Alford] B. Gurang 57.0 1
7 - -00 Little Boy Blue [Rodrigues] Brij S. 56.5 6
8 - -00 Aeolian [Bharath] Md Islam 56.0 3
9 -040 Ingleside [Stephens] G. Upadhya 55.0 2
10 - -00 Golden Heart [Bath] N. Engineer 54.5 5
1. ardon (3) 2. abstone queen (1) 3. ingleside (9)
Ardon: Working extremely well since her debut run. Her rider, Rutherford�s allowance may come as bonus. Abstone Queen: The best performed horse in the field. Merits regard. Ingleside: May place. Crucible: Upset, if any.
Quincy Handicap 1,200m (Cl III�Rt. 44-72)
1 0001 Dancing Fire [Bharath] S. Rabani 60.0 7
2 0040 All Heart [Vijay] C. Alford 59.0 8
3 2110 Staffordshire [Javed] Manohar S. 58.5 4
4 3000 Swash Buckler [Rodrigues] G. Upadhya 58.5 14
5 0300 Sky Hawk [Mujeeb] Yacoob 58.0 12
6 2110 Kargil Soldier [Mujeeb] S. Tamang 58.0 1
7 2212 Storm Trooper [David] M. Reuben 56.5 13
8 0000 Consul�s Secret [Jaiswal] I. Chisty 56.5 6
9 2122 Super Smile [Bharath] Md Islam 56.5 3
10 0430 Mountain Memory [R. Alford] P. Alford 55.5 10
11 2311 Storm Centre [P. Locke] N. Engineer (5kg extra) 60.0 11
12 2412 Iron Warrior [David] A. P. Singh 54.5 9
13 0000 Call Now [R. Alford] K. Kumar 54.0 5
14 2411 Diplomatic Gesture [Bath] S. Shanker 53.5 15
15 - 241 Cup Of Life [David] Md Amil 52.0 2
1. all heart (2) 2. diplomatic gesture (14) 3. cup of life (15)
All heart: On his Bangalore form may topple them all. Diplomatic Gesture: A vastly improved horse. Cup Of Life: Will be thereabouts if ownermate fails. Staffordshire: Working extremely well. Upset, if any.
Espoir Handicap, Div-II 1,100m (Handicap, 3-y-only �Rt. 00-28
1 - - -3 Privy Council [Javed] M. Reuben 60.0 9
2 - - -0 Fibonacci [Stephens] Afzal K. 59.5 8
3 - - -0 Almond Rock [R. Alford] Rutherford A. 58.5 3
4 - -00 Strictly Royal [Bath] N. Engineer 58.0 1
5 ---- Annalee [Vijay] C. Alford 58.0 2
6 - - -0 Ring Dancer [R. Alford] R. Gowli 57.0 6
7 - -00 Alocina [Bharath] S. Rabani 56.5 5
8 - -00 Ballard Lady [R. Alford] K. Kumar 55.0 4
9 - -00 Whitney [Rodrigues] G. Upadhya 55.0 7
1. privy council (1) 2. annalee (5) 3. ring dancer (6)
Privy Council: Best performed in the present lot. Annalee: Tuned methodically for the event. Ring Dancer: A speedy type. May surprise. Alocina: May place.
Phakos Handicap 1,200m (Cl IV�Rt. 22-50) � Indian jockeys only
1 2222 As you Please [Rodrigues] P. Alford 60.0 5
2 3330 Tejeni [Vijay] A. P. Singh 58.5 2
3 0000 Royal Ruler [R. Alford] B. Gurang 54.5 6
4 2340 Friendly Knight [Jaiswal] I. Chisty 54.5 1
5 0300 Work Order [Mujeeb] Haroon K. 51.5 4
6 0200 Bernadine [Vijay] Md Islam 51.5 7
7 0000 Constantine [Karki] E. Smith 51.0 3
1. friendly knight (4) 2. constantine (7) 3. work order (5)
Friendly Knight: A decent seventh in last start. May win. Constantine: Coming back to form. May surprise. Work Order: Upset, if any.
Magnanimus Cup 1,400m (Cl IV�Rt. 22-50)
1 4000 American [R. Alford] Rutherford A. 61.0 9
2 1020 Jayaashva [Jaiswal] A. P. Singh 58.0 11
3 1004 Hurricane Star [Stephens] E. Smith 57.5 3
4 4200 Crown Prince [Goenka] P. Alford 57.0 1
5 2210 Black Mane [David] S. Tamang 56.0 7
6 - -30 Amistad [Bharath] C. Alford 54.5 2
7 4114 Single Dawn [R. Alford] R. Gowli 54.0 12
8 3122 Supreme Desire [David] Md Amil 53.0 6
9 1210 Global Harmony [Mujeeb] Haroon K. 53.0 4
10 - -10 Flying Power [Mujeeb] M. Reuben 53.0 13
11 0400 Run Ahead [Mujeeb] Yacoob 51.0 10
12 3333 Rheinheart [Bath] S. Shanker 49.5 8
13 0000 Armed Alarm [Bharath] S. Rabani 48.0 5
1. amistad (6) 2. rheinheart (12) 3. supreme desire (8)
Amistad: Capable of reproducing his Mumbai form if given a free rein. Rheinheart: An impressive second. May do better. Supreme Desire: A game second in last start. May upset.Flying Power: A failed-favourite. Keep an eye.
Favorite Handicap 1,100m (Cl V�Rt. 00-28) Indian jockeys only
1 0001 Magic Ring [Karki] E. Smith 60.0 4
2 0242 Tequila Shot [Stephens] Md Islam 60.0 8
3 0021 Noble Canonire [R. Alford] Rutherford A. 57.0 3
4 2323 Double Dancer [Javed] M. Reuben 55.5 5
5 2301 Tribal Warlord [Rodrigues] G. Upadhya 55.5 2
6 0041 Go India Go [Jaiswal] I. Chisty (5kg extra) 56.5 1
7 3404 Knight Charmer [Jaiswal] A Razzak 51.0 6
8 - 003 Dizzy Diver [Vijay] Md Amil 49.5 7
9 0043 Zingari [Stephens] Brij Shaw 47.5 9
1. noble canonire (3) 2. double dancer (4) 3. dizzy diver (8)
Noble Canonire: A facile winner. May do the trick again. Double Dancer: Has been in the money in her all four starts. May dispute the issue again. Dizzy Diver: A game performer. May upset.
Day�s Best: Noble Canonire Double: Avionic & Jeweller