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It was passion for football that set the ball rolling

Why hasn’t India produced a Lionel Messi or a Cristiano Ronaldo?

This and other pointed questions were put to former footballer C. C. Jacob by the students of Bishop Heber College during an interaction here on Wednesday.

During the hour-long session, it was the students’ passion for football that came to the fore.

“Football captured the imagination of the public even then and we had several top class football players. Remember, India finished fourth in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and also won gold medal at the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games,” said Mr. Jacob, recounting the heydays of Indian football.

“The emergence of ISL (Indian Super League) has certainly helped in increasing the popularity of football in the country. It has also given young players good exposure.

With India set to host the FIFA under-17 World Cup later this year, I am sure football will reach great heights in the country,” he replied to a query on the impact of ISL on Indian football.

Mr. Jacob, who was part of the Kerala team that bagged the Santosh Trophy in 1973, said that passion and hard work were absolute essential for any sports person to achieve success.

“You may have aptitude. But that alone would not guarantee success. There is no substitute for hard work,” was his advice to young sports persons.

D. Paul Dhayabaran, Principal, Bishop Heber College, and L.C. John, Head, Department of Physical Education, were present during the interaction, which was organised jointly by the Rotaract Club and Department of Physical Education of the college.

Later in the evening, Mr. Jacob gave away prizes to the winners of the 52nd annual sports meet.


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