Musings from Kochi-II

April 21, 2022 at 4:49 pm 10 comments

A celebration of the game

Fourteen year old Stella is a very busy girl this summer. She gets up at 5.30 sharp, much before the sunrise, completes her morning chores in ten minutes flat and is at the dinning table, gulping down a glass of milk while her mother hurriedly plaits her curly hair tight. Quickly changing over to a trouser and the jersey T-shirt, she slips to her boots and by 5.45 is off to the grounds, with a full-sized football firmly secured in her bike carrier. Stella is damn serious about her training and is very ambitious of becoming a successful football player.

Girls dribbling the ball

With more than three hundred children dribbling and kicking scores of footballs and a dozen of agile coaches constantly shouting and whistling, the Veli Grounds at Fort Kochi wears a festive and a noisy look every morning. The training, that ranges from physical exercises and stamina building to sharpening the myriad tactics of the game, is a complete program that would prepare talented players for further professional coaching and refinement. While Stella is busy playing as a forward in a friendly match on one end, a group of children are running around plastic cones placed evenly in rows in the middle of the ground to hone their agility and the reflex through zig-zag movements . And another set of aspirants are doing the rounds of reverse hopping over jumpers that strengthen their flexibility and the skills to quickly change directions while on the far end of the ground are a bunch of boys and girls practicing long and lofted shots to enhance precision with punch. In all these aspects, the committed coaches of the Veli Lions Football Academy, that organises the coaching, make sure that every child enrolled for the program go through a rigorous training in all aspects of game. The idea of the entire exercise seems to be to identify and catch the promising ones early and prepare them for the professional circuits while inculcating discipline and team spirit on all participants.

Charlie..The Coach

It’s said that if football were to be a religion, it would have the largest number of followers. An estimated 3 billion people around the world are active enthusiasts of the sport and hardly would there be a country where the sport is not followed religiously. And yet the popularity for the sport in a country of India’s size is rather minimal and the reasons for them is not hard to seek. With electronic gizmos and digital games taking central stage, the urge among children to go out in the open and play is fast dwindling. And it’s in the weaning away the young generation from the deliberating effects of the electronic games that organisations like the one in Kochi are to be appreciated and encouraged. In a country that is obsessed with Cricket, it is indeed heartening to see a bunch of highly enthusiastic youngsters taking up football as their passion and pursuing them with great vigour. And football teaches, along with building stamina and endurance, the ability to be focussed for extended duration, the art of teamwork and the essential social skills to relate and communicate, both with friends and strangers – all vital life skills in a highly integrated and digitalised world of the twenty-first century. And for the girls in Kochi to take up a predominantly male sport in such large numbers is particularly heartwarming and sends a very positive message of gender equality to the rest of the country. 

Over the Jumper
With Coach Babu…Special emphasis on training the girls

As the world emerges out of the pandemic induced isolation for two long years, schools are struggling with the problems of reduced levels of concentration, shortened attention span, lack of discipline and obesity among students. These issues are apart form the more obvious and glaring problems of loss of learning of previous years and of lagging in academic targets. This changed scenario has thrown up fresh challenges for the schools to gear up the students to the earlier levels of competence and would need innovative methods and out of the box ideas to achieve them.  And a training in the game of football with all its ingredients of physical exertion, stamina building and team coordination could become an important tool in rebooting the entire education system to pre-pandemic levels. Football, thus has the potential to become an integral part of the new age school program and it would be in the larger interest of the society to consider a game of soccer before the start of a school day. 

Let the match begin!



Also read Musings from Kochi-1…


Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , .

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. beth  |  April 21, 2022 at 5:11 pm


  • 2. Ayan  |  April 21, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    Just perfectly put with the right and best and enthusiastic words. My game as a Bengali.Remembering Vijayan from your writing. Bengal and Kerala in haydays were champions of the Santosh trophy and the club’s, EastBengal my favourite. Now all gone with the charisma and money with cricket.Enjoyed the writing thoroughly.

  • 4. Musings from Kochi-1 | chapter18  |  April 22, 2022 at 6:08 am

    […] Also read Kochi shows the way… […]

  • 5. Simranjit Singh  |  April 22, 2022 at 11:46 am

    Great sir 👌

  • 6. Priti  |  May 17, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    Excellent 👍

    • 7. chapter18  |  May 17, 2022 at 4:59 pm

      Do you really think so….Thanks😊

      • 8. Priti  |  May 17, 2022 at 5:36 pm

        Yes absolutely 😊

  • 9. Angelilie  |  August 30, 2022 at 5:45 pm

    I many like your beautiful blog. A pleasure to come stroll on your pages. A great discovery and a very interesting blog. I will come back to visit you. Do not hesitate to visit my universe. See you soon.

    • 10. chapter18  |  August 31, 2022 at 10:17 am

      Happy to know that you liked my blog. Do share it with your friends! Will sure be visiting your Universe. All the best!


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