21August2017

Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Down Memory Lane

The Repulsive Side of Goan Football

Aim like the Alemaos – Part I

Having tried unsuccessfully to launch a political party, the Alemao brothers are back (yes, I club them together because they work in sync even while they oppose each other when the need arises); with an eye on that coveted trophy –coronation as GFA (Goa Football Association) president. 

But before I kick-off, there’s some iconic details you need to know in order to comprehend the game being played out.  Since 1974 there has been no real GFA election.  From 1977 big clubs like Sesa Goa FC and Dempo FC simply obtained proxy voting authorization letters from the smaller clubs.  The other two biggies Salgaocar FC and Vasco Sports Club played along.  Later, newcomers MRF (Madras Rubber Factory) and their successors, Churchill Brothers, joined in the games.  Simply put, the voting process was never democratic, just like everything else about Goa’s football.  Remember Churchill Alemao’s vigour for breaking strikes was used to crack the MRF workers’ strike and he was rewarded with MRF buying out Varca SC.  It happened because MRF could influence GFA into permitting Varca to be reincarnated as the MRF Soccer Foundation.  The proviso being Varca had to be fully disbanded and appropriately so.  But GFA being GFA, a few years on and Varca was re-admitted because for the Alemaos it was a ‘collection center’ for the club’s costly Carnival dances.

Varca mind you, is distinctly different from Churchill Brothers Sports Club, born after MRF pulled the plug on football and scratched the team.  Since a football is spherical and therefore rolls; likewise what goes around also comes around in the GFA.

Between the Eighties and the mid-Nineties, the smaller clubs gave up their fight for elected posts, their representatives choosing mainly to stay away from the elections.  Those who dared to were arm-twisted into withdrawing their nominations.  These strange ways continued till finally Vilas Sardessai (a Dempo official) was challenged in the mid-Nineties.  Influential officials owing allegiance to the big clubs continued to make up part of the committee in the name of the smaller clubs.

Enter, Alberto Colaco the current paid secretary of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in Delhi.  He lorded over GFA like it was his personal fiefdom, fielding his own cronies to various posts of the GFA; all officially representing different small clubs, but de facto owing allegiance to him.  Colaco simultaneously moved closer to the Alemaos, their friendship evolving into a political-sporting allegiance as he progressed to the AIFF, becoming a Priya Ranjan Das Munshi confidante inside AIFF’s headquarters.

Colaco ensured that no GFA elections were held and that his or in some cases, certain compromised panels came through unopposed.  An old chestnut!  However, in 1999 Colaco could not continue as secretary having completed two terms.  His choice of a yes-man fell on the shoulders of Agnelo Alcasoas (then Velsao-Pale-Issorcim sarpanch), who soon afterwards turned against his benefactor.  The finishing touch was Alcacoas giving a VVIP pass to Micky Pacheco to seat him alongside arch-enemies, the Alemaos, in the Fatorda stadium VVIP box.  In Goa’s turf war, this does not happen.

Colaco strove hard to get Alcasoas dismissed on various counts.  To do this, the ‘story’ had to be made public, and would arouse the ire of the smaller clubs who had stayed quiet all these years.  To make matters worse, in its final resolution, the general body of the GFA not only fired Alcasoas; they pink-slipped the entire executive committee including Joaquim Alemao and Colaco himself.  Colaco however got the “dismissal” rephrased to “dissolution” to prevent Alemao himself from also being barred from contesting future GFA elections as GFA’s constitution provides for ‘dissolution’ not ‘dismissal’.

By then Francisco ‘Mickky’ Pacheco had become a minister and dared to contest the GFA elections.  Once again, a 1977-type conclave of big clubs was restaged in 2003 to deprive Pacheco and his small club of supporters of a fair contest.  Pacheco, typically, made it worse by trying to browbeat the GFA using the Sports Authority of Goa; even going to court where he lost.  Colaco was once again the leader behind the ‘unification’ of the big clubs.

These developments since 2003 however have opened a can of worms and brings me back to the present day because Joaquim Alemao is hellbent on regaining the prestigious GFA president’s post that will automatically bring him close to Das Munshi.  On the other hand his benefactor Colaco wants to regain control of the GFA by proxy, having been let down by Alcacoas and then having to be engaged in a running fight with the present hon. secretary Savio Messias that is often aired in the media.

 

Boot’s On the Wrong Foot – Part II

The man lost the elections for the GFA executive committee but still said he won.  Never mind that, you know it all by now.  What was not reported was that on July 13, 2007 (a Friday, was that ominous?) at a Hotel Green Park dinner-meet exclusively for Bardez clubs, he told the clubs without a semblance of pretence that they were free to vote for officials of their choice to the executive committee.  But, for president they must vote him.  What Joaquim Alemao does not know now is where to get the Rs 50,000 assistance package he promised village clubs as the candy for their votes.  Because, there are 170 clubs in Goa (eight are professional clubs) he promised that ‘special package’; which makes it 162 clubs left of which about five like Goa Police etc are institutional clubs.  That makes it 157 village clubs who now expect to get a whopping Rs.78,50,000.  That was Alemao’s first yellow card offence.  Now where is he going to get that kind of dough?  Not from the government and certainly not from the Sports Authority of Goa (which is one and the same thing really) because that portfolio has been retained by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat.  One more Alemao made to bite the dust albeit on the football pitch.

Bite he will because the new executive committee is determined to put him in his place from Day 1 with a strategy that includes postponing the very first executive body meeting from July 16, 2006 which he has ordered, to July 20, to show who’s boss.  His second yellow card offence!  Keep reading for the red card.  Remember it was LION ROARS that first exposed the machinations he subsequently officially denied and which actually led to both the passive and active English media at least working around what I first exposed.  Why keep reading?   Because GFA does not want either his pre-election promise of a stadium or his post-election altered desire to lay an all-weather turf at the open Campal stadium.  It simply wants a basic 5,000-seater stadium built on Campal’s parade ground essentially to revive Panjim’s dying football tradition and small club interest.  It also says the cheaper and more practical option is to simply rebuild the Campal stadium that ex-chief minister Manohar Parrikar recklessly demolished for a car park for the International Film Festival of India.  GFA wants its own stadium because SAG controls at its whim all the village playgrounds and is distinctly pro-cricket when it comes to the Fatorda stadium.

LION ROARS also has it that the GFA election was turned into a political circus.  Thus, Dr. Rufino Monteiro’s campaign was accused of being BJP-supported because he had earlier lent his name to the controversial doctors’ campaign to support the BJP in the Assembly elections, although the BJP does not have football in its political arsenal.  Thus, while some BJP MLA’s who could, helped him; all the Congress MLA’s supported Joaquim Alemao.  For example, all the three St. Andre’s clubs Siridao, Goa Velha and Agacaim supported the Congress.

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