BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
‘Persistence pays’ is the mantra that Rohan Gauns Dessai brings as secretary to the Goa Cricket Association (GCA). He believes the dividends will be first felt by the youngsters opting to play cricket in Goa.
‘I had contested the last election but was not successful. I lost, but I used the opportunity to cultivate a relationship with clubs, players and officials, and that led to me winning unopposed. This is why my emphasis is on persistence,’ says Rohan, as he looks back on his days prior to taking over as general secretary of the GCA.
Rohan is in the coveted seat at a time when the ground on which GCA stands looks weathered and the bounce, unpredictable.
‘Despite losing the last elections, I did not give up because as a former player, I knew I had something different to offer. With the blessings of the heavyweights of the game, I managed to get elected unopposed,’ reveals Rohan.
If persistence has got Rohan to the seat of general secretary, transparency, he believes, will take cricket in Goa to heights it has never seen.
‘Goa does not lack cricket talent. There needs to be transparency in not just the manner in which the GCA is run, but in the selection of players,’ avers Rohan, who hails from a middle-class family from Xeldem in Curchorem.
‘Players and youngsters need to be assured that the best will be rewarded. This can be achieved when there is transparency in selection. It is then that parents will encourage their children to take up the game,’ confides Rohan, who at 35 is the second youngest to have been elected to the post of general secretary – Vipul Phadke being the first at the age of 28.
As general secretary, Rohan has added swing to cricket in Goa by getting his other colleagues in the managing committee to come together and give a fillip to women’s cricket in Goa, and starting seven coaching centres in the state and laying emphasis on academy structures from the north to the south of Goa.
‘My first task was to get the warring factions in the GCA on the same plate, and I am happy to have achieved that without hurting anyone. We can attain success with solidarity. I am happy that we are all together now,’ confides Rohan with an assuring smile.
‘The GCA is not and should not be used as a political field. Sports and politics should never be mixed and fortunately do not mix. I do not want to bring politics to sport, and I am sure nor do any other clubs. We are here for the game, and we shall play it that way,’ assures Rohan, as he rubs away notions of his links to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
‘As chief minister and even before becoming chief minister, Dr Sawant always supported me and encouraged me as a karyakarta of the BJP. That is the only link I have, and it should not be misconstrued,’ says Rohan, who has often been attacked by malicious elements.
‘Cricket is the only game in India that is considered to unite all religions. It is the game that binds us together, and in my term, my aim is to bring everyone together for the game to bloom,’ assures Rohan, who normally spends a six-day week at the GCA office in Porvorim.