Our Match against EXL-OPI, Goal’12 – Apr.28, 2012.
Saturday, Apr.28, 2012
This is a Saturday, the first ever time we had a match on Saturday. We always had our matches on Sunday for this tournament Goal’12. It had been raining intermittently for the last two days. On Saturday morning, we were on the CUSAT ground by 7:15 am for our fixture against EXL-OPI. The ground was clogged with water due to the heavy rains the night before. It was slushy and made a giant puddle on the ground. We had no inkling how the teams could play on this ground. I have seen Rugby being played on such grounds at Bombay, and it is fun playing Rugby because we only have to push, stop and run. Football being played in the rain is another turn-on; but this was not either of those. The only thing I could say is that it was impossible to play football on this ground. It was then decided by the organizers to have a penalty shootout and decide the winners of the days play. This was met with strong opposition from the teams since a win in a penalty shootout is all a matter of luck, skill and the mood of the day for the players. This was a fatal combination and nobody wanted to take any chances.
After much deliberations, it was decided to have the match in the afternoon 1:00 pm. This meant we had our schedule at 2:30 pm. That was the last straw on the hat. The day was unbearably hot and playing in the afternoon in this heat would test our limits. “No problem”, the teams reacted. They only wanted to play and leave the rest to fate and their skill. Most of us returned home and planned to come back by 1:00 pm. The worst thing was none of us could eat our lunch, since that would greatly hinder our play. Most of us had some light stuff and made our way to the ground by 1.
In the first match, IBS won and in the second CTS bamboozled their opponents. By the time, the second match was over; we were ready and were on the ground preparing ourselves and playing our shots. The heat was getting worse. We noticed that our opponents were not on the ground at all. I shall tell you later what that meant to us and to them. We slogged and got ourselves ready in the blistering heat. When it was time for the match, our opponents were on the ground with a basic minimal warm-up.
The match began and the heat was taking its toll on us. None of us could get our acts together as we had played our previous matches. We were tiring out easily. Another obstacle to add to our woes was the slippery ground. We had noticed in the earlier matches too, that most of the players had slipped and fell. I guess, we were tiring out easily because the heat had taken its toll on us. Did I mention earlier, none of the EXL-OPI guys were on the ground in the heat. They were conserving their energy for the match. We were practicing and slogging in the heat before the match. No amount of Glucon-D, or Mango Maaza could get back our energy. Have you seen the advertisement on the TV where the kid takes Glucon-D and it is the sun which is exasperated on seeing the kid regaining his energy. Wish it was like this on this day. But nothing of that sort happened and we kept losing energy. This was reflected in the game and the opponents were fresh on the play and we were drained. We lost the match by 2-0, both excellent winners by Augustine. Probably he brought the sunshine into the opponents ranks. No doubt they were winners today and were smiling all along. Remember, they are also the last edition cup holders in InfoPark football. Rakesh was hurt in the previous match and there was little he could do to keep the sagging hopes from crumbling. He however did try valiantly. The entire team tried but could not make any impression on the game.
It was the first time in this tournament we have seen a reverse. The players were disappointed and yesss, our supporters too. Thanks to Lydia, Preethi, Anju, Rakhi and ex-millenniumiante Lijo. They were there to support us as usual. In the morning we had Shimmy and Neethu showing up but they had other plans in the afternoon.
There was nothing we could do today. Now the Group-D is left wide open with most of the teams level at points and the goal difference would matter. With our loss this day by 2 goals, we feel it could turn the favor against us. Let’s wait and watch. As we remarked, Group-D is the group of Death and nothing can be said until the last moment.
No matter whether we make it to the knockout stage or not; our hearty congratulations to the team to get together in such a short time, take time out from our hectic schedules to practice and do well in the first tournament we have played. This should motivate us to make it better in other tournaments we play in. Let’s hope we carry forward this zeal and enthusiasm and live up to our reputation. Olive IT guys are great fighters…. Right? Guys.
As usual, my sweet kisses to all the players for fighting it out and leaving a name for yourself in the world of InfoPark football. Everybody knows OLIVE IT is here to stay…. Keep it up. Don’t worry, we will have our chances to make a big comeback and be among the best. (pun intended).
All the best!!!
Thanks to all of you, for supporting me on my match coverage and motivating me to keep you all updated…. Thanks a lot…