by Fr. Glenford Lowe
MATUNGA-MUMBAI, SEPTEMBER 15, 2014: Don Bosco Youth Services (DBYS) – Matunga brought the Don Bosco International Turf grounds alive from September 13 -14, 2014 by organizing a novel FOOTBALL FOR A CAUSE tournament. 40 Teams, 400 players, 20 playing hours and a large gathering of Salesians and sports lovers joined hands to play for a cause: To sponsor over 50 SYM youth to make a pilgrimage to Goa to participate in the Decennial Exposition of the Sacred Relic of St. Francis Xavier from November 21-26, 2014.
Football is more than just a game of 22 players. It is a culture that promotes fellowship, fair play and discipline. Football is a great leveller, age has no bar. Players as young as 14 and those young-at-heart at 57 stretched their limits to promote the worthy cause. Football is a career! The Turf ground was definitely a launching pad for many a young footballer. The presence of many professional players, coaches and young sporting stars took the 'Football for a Cause' to a level unimaginable. The skill, speed, stamina and synergy of each team kept many a spectator glued to their seats. For many a team, the tie-breaker was the only thin line that made the difference. Everyone team was a potential Trophy winner.
The Salesian team too took a keen interest in the tournament, playing in the +35 years category. Practicing under flood lights after a busy day's schedule to burn the extra fat or oil the rusty joints was their only option. Many of the veteran past pupils, playing in the tournament, expressed it best with these words, "It was such a joy playing with the Salesian priests once again, and to see them so young at heart. I was a privilege to relive our school days again".
The +35 category ended with St. Joseph's Wadala and St. Anthony's Vakola being declared joint winners. The open category too was a thriller, from 32 teams participating teams, going right down to a nail biting tie-breaker, Parle United defeating Deadly United DBYS by 5-4. Fr. Godfrey D'Souza, provincial of the Mumbai Province presented Trophies to the winning teams.
When the final whistle was blown and the lights were off, one could hear an emotional inner voice that said, "I was happy to be part of a worthy cause, and thanks to the organizers who made it possible." A special word of thanks to Mr. Augustine and his team of referees, and to the DBYS Sports Youth Commission, who ensured that this would be a tournament with a difference.