Spectators in the middle of the field, chants, loud music, beating of the drums and cymbals- the Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA) ground resembled Brazil’s Maracana stadium on Monday afternoon when Infant Jesus (Malad) pipped St. Xavier’s (Fort) 3-2 in the tie-breaker of the Under-14 second division finals.
The match was a scoreless draw at the end of normal time. With the match not living up to expectations in the form of goals, Infant Jesus - who brought along their school band, made sure the ‘tempo’ was raised.
“We got the green signal from the school authorities to get the band here today and boy! they did make their presence felt. Having them by our side surely must have felt intimidating for the opposition and might have been the reason why we came out on top in the shootout,” said Infant Jesus’ coach Narayan Moolya.
Fourteen-year-old Keval Doshi, who was instrumental in the side’s win over Army Public School (Colaba) and St. Paul (Dadar) on their road to finals, yet again proved his worth. The center back who wears the goalkeeper’s gloves during the penalty shootout was hard to deceive.
“The coach feels I can contribute much more as a defender than a goalkeeper for the match which is why I don’t keep. Having played for so many years I feel I can contribute to the team during spot kicks as well. This has increased my focus and set my eyes on the ball.” said an elated Doshi who also scored one for his side in the shootout.
But he added that the presence of his family including his grandparents in the stands boosted his morale and also praised the school band. “They kept us pumped up. We owe it all to them.”
On the other hand, Navy Children (Colaba) won their maiden title beating Jamnabai (Juhu) 4-1 in the U-14 first division final. Captain Abhishek Badalia led from the front scoring a hattrick for the Colaba side.