rajasthan: After last year’s heist, Rajasthan United hunt for home and support | Goa News – Times of India


Panaji: The dream of Rajasthan United FC could be snuffed out just when it has begun.
Last October, little-known Rajasthan United pulled off one of the most improbable heists in Indian football when they topped the qualifiers on debut and moved to the I-League, Indian football’s second-tier.
Rajasthan finished an impressive sixth among 13 teams in the I-League and became a shining example of what passion and determination can achieve. It’s the first club from Rajasthan to play in the league, but it’s progress could be stunted for lack of infrastructure in the state.
“The last season was played inside a bio-secure bubble in Kolkata so there were no issues. Now we’ve been told that the next edition will be played on a home and away basis and we need to identify a home stadium,” said co-founder Rajat Mishra who gave up his family business and founded the club, along with another youngster, Kamal Singh Saroha.
The problem for Rajasthan and its top club is that they do not have a football stadium that meets the All India Football Federation’s criteria. The state league was played at the Poornima University ground which doesn’t have proper dressing rooms, media gallery or enough space to accommodate spectators. In case of an emergency, even the ambulance does not have proper access.
The Rajasthan University ground does not have a standard-sized pitch.
The club’s best hope is the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, more famous for hosting Rajasthan Royals’ home games in the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 cricket tournament.
“We have written to the state association and appealed to the state government for help. It is imperative that they support us. The Sawai Mansingh Stadium is best-suited to host the I-League games and can tick all the boxes,” said Mishra.
The Rajasthan FA has suggested that the club play its games at Umaid Stadium in Jodhpur, a venue that the AIFF had approved, except for small improvements. The problem, though, is that Jodhpur is 350 kms away for the club. Even national capital Delhi at 260 km is closer.
“Rajasthan is not exactly conducive for football at the moment,” said Mishra. “The state association was banned from 2007 to 2016. Even now things have not improved. The state league, for example, was conducted in August where we played seven matches in eight days.
“For the Qualifiers and I-League, we spent Rs 2 crore from our own pockets and got little help from any corporate (in the state). We approached many of them. Maybe they didn’t know about Rajasthan United because the state has no football culture, but now everyone knows what we are capable of.”
The club said they need support from the state government and corporates, just like other states where clubs have thrived. In Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee has provided financial aid to the local clubs, Biren Singh did the same in Manipur, while Goa has a scheme of providing Rs 3 crore to any Goan club in the I-League.
“Just like the chief ministers of various states have supported their team, we look forward to such collaboration with the government or corporate houses,” said club president Vivek Sharma, who has been knocking on every possible door for support.
Rajasthan United have a full-fledged residential academy in Jaipur with 120 players and a youth system which allows players to break into the senior team. Gyamar Nikum has already played in the I-League and grabbed attention. But if the club does not have a stadium to play, the dream might be over too soon.





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.