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Guru Tegh Bahadur Football Tournament from January 6

COEP Ground
Priests of various religions reciting prayers at the COEP Ground.

Pune: After completing 20 glorious years of hosting Guru Tegh Bahadur Football Tournament, which has had received exemplary response from the football clubs across Pune, the Guru Tegh Bahadur Sports Foundation (GTBSF) has decided to upgrade city’s one of the most popular football tournament, into gold cup to coincide with the 347th martyrdom of Guru Shri Tegh Bahadur Sahib.

The year 2022 marked 347 years since Guru Tegh Bahadur was killed.

“We wanted to conduct the tournament in December 2022 itself but due to some logistical issues, we had to push the dates forward,”  Mr. S.S.  Ahluwalia ,President of the GTBSF  said addressing a press conference on Tuesday. The tournament will be held from January 6 to 15 at its usual venue, the COEP ground, Shivajinagar.

The prestigious tournament will be open for teams from 2nd and 3rd divisions, senior and Super divisions. There will be a separate tournament for women’s teams too.

Besides handsome cash prizes, footballs, bags, medals to all winners and runners up teams, each participating player will be given a certificate of participation, said Mr. Ahluwalia, whose travails took him to Srinagar to conduct the 20th edition of the tournament as the clearance to host the tournament during its usual dates in the year 2021 were not coming by due to prevailing covid situation in the city.

The 20th edition held in Srinagar was a huge success and received great response from the local clubs .

“I have been receiving  calls from Srinagar almost on a daily basis requesting us to conduct the tournament again in Srinagar,” informed Mr. Ahluwalia” it was a humbling experience in Srinagar during the 20th edition. All those involved in the organising committee worked relentlessly as if it was seva for Guru Tegh Bahadur sahib.”

The Guru Tegh Bahadur Sports Foundation (GTBSF) on Thursday performed  all religion prayers in memory of the victims of corona virus, who died at the very ground where the 21st Guru Tegh Bahadur Gold Cup Football Tournament will be held.  The GTBSF, which faced several logistical problems in organising this event , has decided to go ahead with the tournament nonetheless with a ceremonial inaugural match on January 5 between Strikers FC and Shivneri FC.

Those who recited the prayers were Girish Dave Maharaj and Bhante Buddhagosh, both representing buddhism,  Abhayajyoti Bhanti from dagdusheth Ganapati temple.  Gyani Pratap Singh of Ganesh peth gurudwara, J. M. Gaikwad of Khadki church and Nahid Razza presenting  Islam

The COEP ground, the venue of the tournament, which was converted into a jumbo covid centre by the local government authorities, during the second wave of corona pandemic, has been witness to many deaths. The COEP  hence was sceptical in allotting the ground for use. The ground has nonetheless been relayed with new mud and levelled.

On the request of COEP, the GTBSF performed the shanti puja of the ground as per the Indian traditions.

Written by
Sanjay Jadhav

A journalist with more than eight years of experience in print and online media. Covered I-League, Indian Super League, Pro Kabaddi League, Motorsports, local sports, features, and Pune news. Also passionate about Travel, Auto, Food, and Aviation.

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