Football Kicks-off at Mohun Bagan! We Met the Elated Canteen Owners, Staff

On 17 August, we got a chance to watch CFL 2021 season opener that was played between Kidderpore SC and Peerless SC.

My Report
3 min read

Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor:
Abhishek Sharma

Finally, after almost 19 months, on 17 August, Kolkata felt its pulse of football spirit again as the Mohun Bagan Athletic Club Ground witnessed the first match of the new season of Calcutta Football League 2021.

We got a chance to watch the first match of the season, which was played between Kidderpore SC and Peerless SC where the latter won the match by scoring 4 goals. However, irrespective of the result, this match's significance lies in breathing life into football and Maidan canteens in Kolkata.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>First match of the season being played between&nbsp;Kidderpore SC and Peerless SC</p></div>

First match of the season being played between Kidderpore SC and Peerless SC

Photo credit: Koushik Das, Ayan Dawn

Due to COVID-19 lockdown, the Maidan canteen and food stalls suffered huge financial crisis.

"I have come back after around a year and 6-7 months. I was able to make a sale worth Rs 100. Earlier, I used to have good sale. In lockdown there was hardly any sale. We followed the lockdown protocols at home only. I used to sell vegetables. During the lockdown, I used to sell vegetables in different localities of Howrah."
Mohammad Chand, Food Stall Owner, Mohun Bagan AC
<div class="paragraphs"><p>With no football, Mohun Bagan canteen was empty</p></div>

With no football, Mohun Bagan canteen was empty

Photo credit: Koushik Das, Ayan Dawn

Palash Mukherjee, lovingly known as 'Kaju Da', of the Mohun Bagan canteen says, "Due to this complete absence of sporting action from the Maidan. All the canteen owners, staff people, and other food stall owners business came to a halt.

"Maidan is everything for me. If Maidan comes to a halt, then what will we do? We are small businessmen and can't compete with the big ones. Most of the staff members were at home. They were also facing financial difficulties. I tried to pay them as much as I could by personally arranging money. I am praying to God and hopefully with the matches being played again things will turn out to be better."
Palash Mukherjee, Canteen Owner, Mohun Bagan AC
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Empty stand of the Mohun Bagan stadium</p></div>

Empty stand of the Mohun Bagan stadium

Photo credit: Koushik Das, Ayan Dawn

The players were also affected in a big way beacuse of no football being played for over a year-and-a-half. So, naturally, players too were happy to be back on the pitch.

"For sure we were mentally devastated. It was very difficult as a sportsman to sit inside a house for 4, 5, 6 months and not practice. We are back again in the Calcutta League. We have the motivation. This is our job, so we are back. We are happy to be back."
Ansumana Kromah, Footballer, Peerless SC

If Maidan is the soul of the city of joy, then the canteens serve as lifelines. With the season opening match of Calcutta Football League 2021, Maidan Canteen owners and Kolkata look towards the future with hope.

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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