Triviela – Beyond Trivia
The Gopinath Bordoloi trophy is a tournament traditionally held in Guwahati during the leaner months of the otherwise busy football season in other parts of India . It had a glorious past when the big teams from Kolkata – East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting, – as well as teams from other parts of India and abroad, like Dempo Sports Club and Bangkok Port Authority have played and won here. Teams from the North East like Shillong Lajong, Aizawl FC, Assam Rifles, Assam State Electricity Board and teams from neighbouring Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan have also participated in this tournament.
What connects Gopinath Bordoloi and Dayanand Bandodkar other than the fact that these two gentlemen were the first Chief Ministers of their respective states — Assam and Goa? Both have football tournaments named after them. Read on to know more on this trivia..
Currently though, with the advent of I-League and a tight football calendar in India, there are hardly any marquee names which participate here. This year, the tournament was held between December 30 and January 7, and was won by Bhawanipore FC of Kolkata, led by former Mohun Bagan star Jose Baretto. It is heartwarming that the organisers, Assam Football Association, have kept this tournament alive even when sponsorships have been hard to come by in football and many other tournaments, including the once-marquee Rovers Cup and DCM trophy which have been discontinued due to lack of funds as well scheduling issues.
Far away from the mountains of Assam, near the seashores of Goa, there used to be another tournament named after its first Chief Minister, Dayanand Bandodkar. It was started in 1970 and was touted to be the most expensive tournament in those days. Their aim, of course, was to showcase Goa on the national stage as a serious football host and boost sports tourism in the state. In 1971, Vasco became the first team from Goa to lift the trophy. Till the tournament was discontinued in 1992, Dempo and Salgaocar dominated the tournament.
Recently, the Goa Football Association has proposed to revive the tournament with 12-14 teams from Goa and around four teams from the neighbouring states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala. While the lack of funds remains a concern, the organisers are upbeat because Goan teams are doing well nationally, which means sponsorship won’t be an issue. Let’s hope for the best.
Parting shot – There is another football tournament in India named after Begum Hazrat Mahal, the first wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh, but that story is for another day.