Udhayanithi Stalin
Udhayanithi Stalin

Thoothoor football enthusiasts look upon new Sports Minister

There were several players from Thoothoor in prominent positions in the public employment sector after representing state and national teams, he said on Sunday.

MADURAI: With Udhayanithi Stalin ushering in a new era as Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development, John Britto, president of Netaji Library and Sports Club, Thoothoor and ex-serviceman, said the football enthusiasts are hoping that the football talents of Thoothoor would get a fair chance to play representing Tamil Nadu at national level tournaments.

Much to the chagrin of the football community here, the talents of local players are not fully recognized.

There were several players from Thoothoor in prominent positions in the public employment sector after representing state and national teams, he said on Sunday.

Thoothur, a coastal hamlet in Kanyakumari district, is blessed with abundant football talents. Whenever the Thoothoor football players were not given chances to represent the Tamil Nadu team in the Santosh trophy, the state team failed to perform to the expectations.

Tracing the history of Thoothoor football, Britto said missionaries, who landed in 1970s at this coastal hamlet, were the forerunners of the game. Further recalling, he said missionaries were excited at fisher folks playing football on the sandy beachfront.

To hone the football talents of the locals including children and youth, the missionaries launched a Rural Youth Club named after US President John F Kennedy (Kennedy Rural Youth Club) in 1970 and the young talents were called ‘Manal Rajakkal’ in the days of yore.

Initially, a sandy playground was formed inside Pius XI Higher Secondary School at Thoothur. Football then took off in success after the game became most popular in 1971 when playing in a seven-a-side tournament, he told DTNEXT.

Thoothoor also requires a state-of-the-art football stadium and the IT Minister T Mano Thangaraj and Kanyakumari MP Vijay Vasanth have extended their support, Britto said.

F Jospin, a football player, said many of the locals celebrated the grand finale of the FIFA World Cup with a band of ‘chenda melam’ musicians and served audiences delectable food at open-air arenas.

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