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Kadam soccer kicks off
February 29, 2008
HERALD SPORTS DESK
PANJIM, FEB 28 ? Pune?s biggest sporting extravaganza, the 5th All-India Invitational Abhijeet Kadam Memorial knock-out football tournament which offers increased prize-money, will see India?s top teams and a galaxy of Bollywood stars descend into Pune. For the first time in the history of Pune football, five professional Indian league teams will showcase their skills at the 11-day tournament which is sponsored by Reliance Industries and organised by the Abhijeet Kadam Memorial Foundation in association with Deccan XI Football Club, Pune under the auspices of All India Football Federation (AIFF), Western India Football Association (WIFA) and the Poona District Football Association (PDFA). Speaking to reporters Vishwajeet Kadam, Managing Trustee, Abhijeet Kadam Memorial Foundation, said,
?We have tried our level best to include a team each from each zone of the country and I guess the field has surely surpassed expectations. However, a team from the East, Indian football capital, is the only absentee and that?s because most of the teams are doing duty in the IFA Shield (Feb. 25 to March 7). Else, for once, the tournament would have reached out every corner of India. Our aim is to make that possible soon.? He also added that five teams ? Mumbai Football Club, Osian?s New Delhi Heroes, Vasco Sports Club Goa, Indian Bank Chennai and Pune Football Club - will be seen in action for the first time in Pune. As part of the organisers? endeavour to enable local teams brush their shoulders alongside outstation teams on an all-India level platform, the field ? like in the past ? comprises 14 local teams and 14 teams beyond Pune. The local teams went through a qualifying tournament in December 2007. This year a total cash prize of Rs1.71 lakh is up for grabs, which is a whopping 45 per cent increase from 2007. The winner would be richer by Rs 1 lakh apart from a trophy and certificates, while the runners-up would receive Rs 51,000. Likewise, the ?Best Player? and the ?Best Goalkeeper? of the tournament would stand to gain Rs 10,000 respectively.