BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
The prize distribution ceremony of Goa Cricket Association (GCA) witnessed each affiliate of the association returning home a winner after the chief guest, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, promised “government assistance in constructing the stadium if the managing committee could iron their differences” and in the end, secretary Rohan Gauns Dessai left with an encore.
“The managing committee must sort its differences. I should not say this in a function where I am called as a chief guest, but I need to say it because the government is ready to help,” stated the chief minister whilst extolling the benefits to sports tourism.
Cricket has been on a slow pace in Goa since the formation of GCA, and the same has gathered speed after the clubs unanimously handed over the crown of secretary to Rohan, whose decisiveness has seen many firsts since the new committee took over at the end of October.
As Rohan mentioned in his keynote address, laced with humility and honesty, women’s cricket in Goa is seeing a thrust; Mohit Redkar is at the cusp of becoming the second Goan cricket player to play for India; and emphasis is being laid on infrastructure.
Rohan’s assurance to improve infrastructure received a fillip after Chief Minister Sawant promised to hand over one Sports Authority of Goa (SAG) ground in each taluka to GCA, once they are identified.
“I realised there are so many unused grounds with SAG that I am ready to hand over one ground in each taluka, as I know you all will be able to maintain them, and girls and boys of all age groups will be able to play,” promised Chief Minister Sawant.
“Identify twelve SAG grounds in twelve talukas to start centres there, and together we can do it,” promised Sawant.
The managing committee has laid seven pitches at the academy ground in Porvorim and is in the process of building pitches on the 3,500 square metres of land handed over to GCA by the Margao Cricket Club (MCC) for twenty years.
In addition, GCA has curated the pitches for Panjim Gymkhana through another agreement.
“It is nice to say that Geno Cricket Club has developed their own ground, and a few other clubs from the north are thinking along the same lines. We are ready to help any club thinking similarly,” stated GCA president Vipul Phadke.
“The standard of cricket in Goa has to go forward. We are here to give our players the best that they need and the clubs all the support they want to take the ball forward,” stated GCA treasurer Daya Pagi while disclosing that the annual grant for clubs has been hiked by secretary Rohan from Rs one lakh a year to Rs two lakh.
Daya Pagi, GCA treasurer
“I like the way the secretary works. He is fast. He (Rohan) decided to clear the backlog of prizes to be given, and, believe me, through his efforts, GCA is expected to receive a windfall from BCCI soon, and that will percolate to all clubs,” added Pagi during his vote of thanks.
“The prize distribution was always held at the GCA ground in Porvorim, and it is being held for the first time at the MCC ground in Margao, which is the hub of cricket in the south,” stated Digambar Kamat, MLA of Margao and member of GCA.
As the guests and affiliate members of GCA walked for dinner after the ceremony, it was clear that secretary Rohan had not only managed to weave magic around the players and clubs but also his managing committee members, who seemed ready for the fast, drive forward.
For a change, cricket appears to be in the driver’s seat.