Pune: After a brief break in the National football season, soccer fans in Pune will again have quality football on their platter with some of the top I-League teams including Prayag United Sports Club, Kolkata, and Air-India, Mumbai, competing in the the 7th Abhijit Kadam Memorial Football Cup at the floodlit Bharati Vidyapeeth Education Complex Ground in Dhankawdi, from March 3 to 11.
In attracting three elite I-League teams, the participation turns out to be healthy as during tournament two other top-grade all-India tournaments – IFA Shield in Kolkata and KC Nayannar Cup – is being held simultaneously. Former champions Mumbai FC will be third I-League team in the fray, making this edition stronger than last year when only two top league teams—Sporting Clube de Goa and Shillong Lajong—took part.
Sporting had won the title beating Shillong Lajong in the well-contested final. Speaking at a press conference, Dr Vishwajeet Kadam, Managing Trustee, AKMF said, “As always we (AKMF) try out best in our bit to bring class footballing action to the city. The tournament also provides an opportunity of the best two club teams in the state that emerges from the AKMF Shield to pit their skills against teams they would rarely play against.” This year though, the tournament will be a six-team affair with Sesa Football Academy, PIFA Colaba and Amanora Deccan XI FC being the other three teams in the fray. Interestingly, among all participating teams – Prayag United SC, Air-India, Sesa Football Academy will be making their maiden appearances in the tournament.
The prize money for the 2012 tournament has been increased by double with the winner taking home Rs 3 lakh, medals, certificates and a replica trophy. The runner-up team will be richer by Rs 2 lakh, medals, certificates and a replica trophy. The ‘Best Player’ and ‘Best Goalkeeper’ of the tournament will earn Rs 15,000 each, a memento and a certificate. Likewise,the Guests of Honor will be the Honorable Rajendra Mulak, Minister of State, Finance, Energy, Water Resources, Excise, Planning, Parliamentary Affairs, Government of Maharashtra and Honorable Satej.D.Patil, Minister of State, Home (Urban & Rural), Rural Development, Food & Drug Administration, Govt. of Maharashtra.