Football kicks you out when one tries to misuse it, and Churchill Alemao, patron of Churchill Brothers FC, is the second Goan to have got the boot – the first being Alberto Colaco. Ironically, it was Alberto who brought Churchill and his brother Joaquim Alemao into the Goa Football Association (GFA), and the boot the two received is an indicator that football does not tolerate dishonest people – despite the fact that the two used different styles to gain personal glory.
Alberto Colaco was the first to be ousted among the two, when he was banned by the FIFA Ethics Committee for three years, beginning from November 27, 2014. Alberto was found guilty of violating Article 13 (General rule of conduct); Article 18 (Duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting); Article 19 (Conflict of (Interest); Article 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits); Article 21 (Bribery and corruption) of FIFA Code of Ethics.
Churchill Alemao resigned as President of GFA after the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court held that he should step down, as the GFA Constitution bars anyone above seventy years from holding the post. Salcette Football Club, of which Alberto was a founder, had moved the High Court in 2019 after Churchill revoked the amendment relating to age limit made in 2018 during the tenure of Elvis Gomes.
Churchill will tower over Alberto if the two are put on a football scale, because what the former did for football, the latter would never be able to do. Churchill, whatever his source of income, spent, not invested, crores of rupees to see football grow, not only in Goa, but in India.
He may well be one of the few in the unorganized sectors to spend so much on the game, and it was his inability to get his set up organised that made his tenure as GFA president forgettable.
Alberto, on the other hand, tried to carve a name for himself by trying to appear to be the savior of Indian football. Indian football was at its ebb during his tenure as All India Football Federation (AIFF) secretary because Alberto never understood football, but he understood how to organise tournaments.
Aiming to bounce as high as the ball, he started the politicking and giving in to greed till he was caught by the FIFA Ethics Committee. Alberto was slapped by FIFA with swindling charges whilst Churchill had to leave for breaching the age code. And, the difference tells a story.
Football in Goa has had its share of luminaries in the administration of the game. There was a time when people like Vilas Sardessai, Antonio Bothelo, Laximan Bandekar, Joe Vaz, Shivanand Salgaocar, Orlando Paes, Alex D’Souza, Vishnu Bandekar, Mohan Naik and Francisco Lume Pereira gave the game their time and management talent.
Each of the members listed above brought a lot more to the game by giving something of themselves. Never did they do it for self-glory.
From among these, Bothelo, with his ability to read the skill of the game in players, took over Panvel SC and went on to win the Bandodkar Gold Cup, which was then in the purview of rich corporates like Salgaocar SC, Dempo SC and Sesa Goa. Bothelo then showed that with little money and a bag full of honesty the Gold Cup could belong to anyone.
By getting the Alemaos into football in those years, Alberto also got in the element of fisticuffs, for it was Churchill who will be remembered for holding Andrew Rodrigues, then president of Baina Sports Club, by his collar and threatening to throw him out of the GFA window.
GFA today is a far cry away from the GFA of yesteryears. Elections are now fought for personal interests and not for interests of players, clubs or the sport. GFA is now a battlefield for personal aggrandizement. The last person to have occupied the chair for the good of the game was Shrinivas Dempo.
Elvis Gomes came and allowed himself to be used by the late Peter Vaz, and Churchill Alemao followed and danced to the voice of Master of Ceremonies (MC) Jovito Lopes, leaving the field now for those with money to jump into the fray, to turn GFA into a spinning ground that will see football gently bounce away – wait and watch – before football decides whom to kick out next.
Till such time, those crying hoarse about what Churchill did should not forget what Alberto did and that birds of the same feather roll together.