Meet the hot-blooded youngsters from corporate football teams across the city, who love to battle it out in the arena when they’re not working. It’s a great way to bond and stay mentally and physically fit, they say
Some individuals like Arvind Parthiban get lucky when the company they work for not only supports them in playing football but goes all out to motivate them. “Football is priority in Freshworks and the company lends its support to the sport by backing the training academy of FC Madras, a professional football club based out of Chennai. Also, thanks to our Founder and CEO Girish Mathrubootham, we have two football teams within the company — we have taken part in various matches within the company and with other corporates,” says Arvind, Director of Marketing.
He goes on to say, “It’s amazing to see how passionate the younger generation is about sports. I joined this company a year and a half ago and personally, becoming a part of the football team has helped me get to know people across the company, not just in my team or shift. I think playing a sport together also enhances team spirit and can drastically improve the rapport between colleagues. In fact, our football gang has also become a poker gang because we hang out outside of work and football too!” he jokes.
Across companies, freshers who join would have invariably played football in school and college and wouldn’t want to give it up for the world. Corporate teams can help engage such talents, resulting in multiple benefits, says MS Arunkumar, Member Leadership Staff, Zoho Corp. “I’ve been with Zoho for the past nine years; I think there was a team since before I joined but it picked up popularity only after. Back then, there weren’t many venues where we could practise so if the matches were of advanced levels, we weren’t able to take part. However, facilities to play sport are being construed by our company so this is a positive sign,” shares Arun, who is the goalkeeper for his company’s squad.
“When anyone joins our company, they’re asked if they’d like to join our football team. Being welcomed like this really helps employees get into a comfort zone. Moreover, since we’re in the IT field and tend to sit in front of computers all day long, we don’t have any form of physical activity and tend to put on a lot of weight. Playing football at least for an hour every day helps keep this problem at bay and is a great stress reliever,” he adds.
Corporate football tournaments are normally conducted over weekends when players are free. Group and knock-out tournaments are a popular format, where teams are divided into four — the winning team enrolls in the quarter-finals and so on. “Later this month, we’re having a proper league that will take place over a few months,” shares Prahlad Meyyappan, the founder of Tiki Taka, Chennai’s first rooftop football arena. “Corporate football is picking up pace and the number of players signing up is doubling — since more venues where they can play are opening up, it’s becoming easier for people to get a slot at affordable prices,” he explains.
To enroll in Tiki Taka’s Corporate Rec League, each team should comprise 12 members from the same corporate company. The matches will be held at 17, Lakshmi Street, New Avadi Road, Kilpauk, from November 13, 9 pm onwards.