Three footballers in Goa assembly election fray
Three footballers in Goa assembly election fray
Margao: Three football players are trying their luck in the March 3 Goa assembly elections.
Avertano Furtado, Benjamin D’Silva and Ranjan Naik are the trio, who having toiled and sweat on the football field, are burning the midnight lamp to turn a leaf in a different field. They are vying for three seats in the 40-member assembly.
Furtado, who during his career kept goal for Salgaocar sports club, an I-league club- the semi-professional Indian League – is testing his fortunes in the political arena for the first time.
The six-footer is taking on the might of another six-foot plus political heavyweight of Goa – Churchill Alemao – the last named owns a family club Churchill Bros, which is one of the four Goan clubs playing in the I-league. Dempo Sports Club, owned by mining house, Sporting Clube De Goa are the other two clubs from the smallest state of India to feature in the top league of the country. Vasco Sports Club, which takes its name from the famous Portuguese navigator, is yet another famous club from the tourist resort state.
For Churchill, a seasoned politician, the battle with Avertano in Navelim constituency in Salcete Taluka, a predominantly Catholic constituency, is battling to start his second innings from Navelim. Churchill has served as Chief Minister for a brief 14 days and also a member of parliament.
In the last elections, Chruchill, contesting on a Save Goa Front, supported by the BJP defeated another former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro. But the party he floated failed miserably wining only two seats, but it played spoilt sport for the Congress.
No party got an absolute majority. And thus Churchill demanded his pound of flesh for support to the Congress-NCP ruling combine.
After the elections, Churchill, who has been notorious for changing political parties at the drop of the hat, merged his party stock and barrel into the Congress.
Reginaldo Lourenco, was only other candidate that the Goa electorate preferred to chose in the last elections from the Save Goa Front.
But lot has changed in the last five years. The BJP are no longer supporting Churchill but are backing the independent candidate Avertano. This time around both Churchill and Reginaldo are the Congress candidate, the last named is contesting from Curtorim constituency.
Churchill is the one of the four Alemao’s in the fray. The allotment of tickets for three members of the Alemao family by the Congress and one by its alliance partner Nationalist congress party (NCP) has given the opposition party BJP campaign a shot in the arm.
The Alemaos are battling the bogey of ‘family raj’ and the congress party and its top national leaders have been left to fend questions from the media on the criteria adopted to give tickets to four people from the same family in a small state like Goa.
His younger brother, a former Goa football Association President and currently vice-president of All India Football Federation is aiming for a hat-trick in Cuncolim constituency. Joaquim’s son is contesting on NCP candidate from Sanguem, while Churchill’s daughter Valanka is trying her luck from Benaulim.
Joaquim faces tough competition from Ranjan, a former football defender, who excelled for his village team.
Rajan, is known to be a clean and honest man in his village. The two-time Cuncolim Municipal councilor is not a rag to riches person but manages his family transport business. Rajan’s family have been ardent football fans since time immemorial and his family have been supporting football in Cuncolim in a big way.
Rajan continues to be the same honest person even after his entry into politics, a rare thing to find in Goa, where politicians jump from one party to another.
In neigbouring Velim, former Salcete Football Club midfielder Benjamin, the club once known as the nursery of football in the state, but which has since lost its glean, is aiming to be successful for the second time.
An accomplished badminton player, Benjamin D’Silva- not to be mistaken by his namesake from the same village former FIFA football referee Benjamin Silva, is contesting from the second time in the last five years.
In the last elections he contested on a Save Goa Front and lost to current Forest minister Felip Neri Rodrigues. The constituency will again witness a straight fight between the two this time around too.
Among the other Goa candidates with sporting connections include Goa Cricket Association president Dayananad Narverkar, who is contesting on a congress ticket from Aldona. The former Board of Cricket for Control in India (BCCI) vice-president who has still a case pending against him in the fake ticket scandal, of April 2001, was a minister in the Goa cabinet, but was dropped midway into the five-year term, after charges were framed against him in the 2001 case which dubbed as the Ticket Gate scandal.
The Ticket Gate scandal happened in Margao city in South Goa. The GCA printed tickets much beyond the capacity of the stadium and thus genuine ticket holders were turned away and canned by the security personnel.
The case has been dragging in the courts and it was only after almost ten years that charges were framed in the case.
Hopefully if the three win sports and sportsmen from Goa will be the winners, as the three will hopefully work to the advancement of football and sports in general.
Tags: Goa , India , Football , Goa Football Assocaition , All India Football Federa , Cuncolim , Navelim , Velim , Goa Elections , Aseembly
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