Shekhar Bangera to set up a football academy in Mumbai
Bangera, the former goalkeeper of Orkay Mills, belongs
to the distinguished breed of dedicated sportsmen, who believe that
knowledge gained through experience at the premier level of the
game is a treasured possession which should be utilised to guide
the younger generation. India sank into the relegation zone as a
consequence of its pathetic show in the Sahara Cup this year.
To counter the current crises in Indian football, Bangera, the well-known
footballer turned coach, aims to unearth talented youngsters from
the grassroots and mould them into champions which will help us
to retrieve our past glory.
A brisk recapitulation of Bangera's achievements will revive the
memories of his endearingly heroic performances as a goalkeeper
for Orkay Mills, which earned him the sobriquet, The Tiger.
With his towering frame of 6 feet 3 inches, Bangera nullified the
threatening raids of opposition strikers with acrobatic dives in
the net. Who can forget his virtuoso performance which spurred Orkay
Mills to a convincing 4-0 victory over Calcutta giants Mohun
Bagan in the semifinal of the Rovers Cup at Cooperage
in 1978? Bangera is a veteran of five National championships for
Maharashtra. He was the key member of the Orkay side that won the
Stanford Cup for three consecutive years (1973-75) and he
was also adjudged the Player of the Tournament and the Best Goalkeeper
Bangera learnt the finer points of goalkeeping under the tutelage
of renowned coaches like Deju Shetty, S Salian, Bhupinder Singh,
and Bob Bootlant. He played for New India Assurance before representing
Orkay Silk Mills from 1970 to 1987. Bangera has not only proved
himself as a skilled goalkeeper but also as a competent and result-oriented
football coach. I wish to pass on my knowledge of the game,
which I had gained through my experience at the top level, to the
youngsters, said Bangera who has successfully trained
the football teams of St. Anthony High School, the Saki
Village Boys and St. Xaviers Sports Club (Vile Parle).
Under his able guidance, St. Xavier's won the MSSA-Colgate Inter-School
Football Tournament in the under-14 category last year.
lamented the lack of organised practice for football in theschools
of Mumbai... Only a handful of schools like Don Bosco,
D'Assissi, Dominic Savio and St. Stanislaus conduct regular training
for their teams during the entire year.
To tap young talent, Bangera has chalked up an ambitious plan
to start a full-fledged football academy in Mumbai with the help
of Karnataka Sporting Association. It will be a nonresidential
academy which will provide free training to 40 talented boys for
a period of 2 years. The total cost of the project is Rs 15 lakhs
which will cover expenses for the playground, professional coaches,
kits and daily food for the boys. If money is pumped into
the academy, we can produce at least 15 to 20 footballers of high
caliber every year, said Bangera who exuded confidence
in the success of his novel project.
By: Wasim Siddiqui
Photographer: Vinayak Prabhu