MAPUSA: Clube Sao Miguel de Taleigao pointed out that the GFA adopted a weird procedure for Under-13 inter-zonal football matches between Ilhas and Bardez zones which is unheard of and moreover not a normal, correct and well-accepted sports practice.
President of the club, Levino Anthony Fernandes, popularly known as Hambo, who is also a famous football coach with a leading professional club as well as former coach of State senior teams at Santosh Trophy Nationals, expressed utter shock and indignation that the inter-zonals between Ilhas and Bardez zones in the Under-13 had pitted the teams that had finished first in both zones against each other and teams that finished second in both groups also against each other.
Levino explained that there were two groups in Bardez Zone Under-13. In Group A, Dunes emerged as winners while Super Goans took the second spot. In Group B, Siddeshwar SCC were the toppers while Goa United were the runners-up. In the Bardez groups (A and B) finals, subsequently, Dunes beat Goa United and Super Goans defeated Siddeshwar in cross play-off with the winners meeting with the runners-up.
The Bardez Group group final was played between Dunes and Super Goans with Super Goans emerging Bardez toppers and Dunes as Bardez runners-up, thus qualifying for inter-zonal against Ilhas to decide the North Goa District toppers.
Now look at how the Ilhas-Bardez inter-zonal play-off was fixed, pointed out Levino. Ilhas Group winners - Sao Miguel de Taleigao were put against Bardez Group toppers Super Goans and Ilhas Group runners-up Don Bosco Oratory Panjim were pitted against Bardez Zone runners-up Dunes. As per the general and normal common practice, it ought to have been Sao Miguel de Taleigao vs Dunes and Super Goans vs Don Bosco Oratory Panjim, the runners-up of Ilhas Group. However, it was not so ahead, proving that common sense is after all, not so common.
Has GFA changed the rule on logical method of cross play-offs, queried Levino since the toppers of both Ilhas and Bardez were asked to play against each other on one side and the runners-up of Ilhas and Bardez zones were told to play against each on the other side. That both Ilhas teams, did not report for the inter-zonals is another matter. A walkover was given for the failure of the Ilhas teams to report for the matches. As of now, the North Goa district finals have already been played with Super Goans beating Dunes in the finals on Friday. That's the fact of the matter.
Levino brought to the notice of GFA the gross anomaly in scheduling the inter-zonal play-offs. The general secretary, Lector Mascarenhas, replied as follows: "The matter was discussed at the Executive Committee meeting held on 25-05-23 which was presided by president Caitano Fernandes and it was clarified that only the league standings of Group A was considered for the inter-zonal play-off as the other two teams from Group B were defeated by the two teams from Group. As such, the match between the winner of Bardez i.e. Dunes Sc vs Don Bosco Oratory, the runners-up of Ilhas was scheduled and the winners of Ilhas ie CSMT Taleigao vs Super Goans FC was scheduled as per the format played in the earlier seasons of GFA."
Assuming, without accepting, that the format played in the earlier seasons was resorted to, for which no proofs were provided, it is but normal, ordinary sporting common sense and the practice observed all over that cross play-offs are based on winners of the group meeting the runners-up. Never have I seen that in play-offs, that winners meet the winners and runners-up meet the runners-up. This is absurd and as such not acceptable," reasoned out a furious, but hurt Levino, who is known for taking up the right and just causes.
Meanwhile, Betalbatim Sporting Club, in a letter sent to GFA on May 25, on the matter of play-offs, pointed out that their Under-18 team had finished second in the tournament and that as such they should have qualified for the State play-offs from each District and play the State semi-finals. As in Under-13 and Under-15, two teams have qualified, it should apply for Under-18 group also," pointed out Betalbatim Secretary, Jose F A Rogtao.