Call it luck, call it coincidence. Two players of Bombay Scottish (Mahim) wore the number eight jersey, and their school scored eight goals to blank Activity School (Peddar Road) 8-0, in the quarters of the U-14 Utpal Sanghvi Tournament held at the MSSA grounds, Azad Maidan on Monday. And mind you, coincidence, more often than not, cannot be scripted.
And the interesting part, and something that often happens in inter-school football, was that the three referees officiating the game had no clue about players wearing the same number. Even the coach didn’t realise it till the end of the game.
Jay Bhavnani is the original number eight and even scored a brace in the game. However, the story goes that Aryaman Puri, whose number this year is 18, lost his jersey a couple of days ago, and so decided to wear his last year’s jersey which was eight. And in all likelihood, this would have gone unnoticed if it weren’t for a few alert spectators.
It isn’t the first time that the school has been pulled up for having two players with the same number jerseys. The first time, two players wore the number nine jersey, and the second time, two wore the number 10. Funnily enough, this is the first time that their score matched the flawed jersey number.
Steven Fernandes, the head referee at MSSA, said, “It’s the coach’s fault. They have been warned before so they should be careful. In the line-up they wrote different numbers, so it wasn’t our mistake.”
Somewhat hard to believe, because as per FIFA rules, the referee is supposed to check the individual’s jersey number, to see if it matches with what’s written in the line-up. Referees in school football are known to avoid the “hassle” of cross-checking.
The coach of the team from Mahim, Sachin Panchal said, “It’s my fault. I should have seen it. I was just concentrating on my team’s performance.”
About the match, Bhavya Jain scored a hat- trick, to take his goal tally to eight in this tournament.