Viva marks the resurgence of Kerala football
By Abhishek Roy Sep 15, 2007, 15:31 GMT
Ludhiana, Sep 15 (IANS) Football fans in Kerala finally have something to cheer about. Viva Kerala figures in the national league after the sad decline of once prominent teams like FC Kochi, Kerala Police and Sate Bank of Travancore (SBT).
Viva was formed three years ago, and in this short span of time the club has marked the resurgence of Kerala football at the top level. Their performance in the 29th Federation Cup football tournament has certainly made them a team to watch out for in the inaugural Professional League due to start next month.
'We prefer to go slow but steady. Viva has some good young players but we need time to take on the big teams in the national league,' coach A.M. Sreedharan told IANS on the sidelines of the Federation Cup football tournament here.
Sreedharan added that Viva would not repeat the mistakes of teams like FC Kochi or Kerala Police that led to their decline.
First Kerala Police and later FC Kochi dominated the game at the national level and gave the country players like I.M. Vijayan, Jo Paul Ancheri and V.P. Sathyan. Both outfits have now been disbanded.
Sreedharan says he has learnt his lessons from his stint as coach with both clubs.
'Kerala Police was one of the major soccer clubs of India. They won the Federation Cup twice and there were nine players who figured in the national team,' he said.
'The problem started when the team started playing well and players were given out of turn promotions. This infuriated those who were in service and slowly the team was disbanded,' said Sreedharan, who was mercurial striker Vijayan's first coach.
FC Kochi was disbanded not because of poor performances but mainly due to mismanagement, feels the veteran coach.
'During my tenure as FC Kochi coach, we won the Durand Cup and were also runner-up in the IFA Shield. But the main problem was that it was a star-studded team and in the end due to the paucity of funds the players started leaving. The club had to close shop in 2002,' he said.
The coach said now Viva would not commit the same mistakes.
'A good football club should have sound financial backing. So we are now looking for sponsors so that by the time the Professional League starts we would have some good foreigners in the team,' he said.
Sreedharan disclosed that Ancheri had already signed up for Viva and he is also trying to convince Vijayan to come out of retirement and play gain.
© 2007 Indo-Asian News Service