By by Fr. Nobert Xalxo, SDB
In the month of July and August, BEST organized the second edition of the hockey league competition exclusively for migrants, which began on July 2 and ended on August 6. Thirty-two teams participated in the tournament which reached its climax, on August 6, with Energetic Club and Milizuli locking horns for top honors in a tightly-contested final at Shivaji stadium in Delhi.
The 2000-odd spectators present at the venue were treated to a contest of high-caliber hockey as both sides attacked and countered in a bid to score. Milizuli eventually trumped their opponents, via a penalty shoot-out, after both sides tied 4-4 in regulation time.
''We Adivasis have been playing hockey since our childhood. Now, through this yearly tournament, we get a chance to continue to play the sport. We look forward to playing it every Sunday during the tournament and practice in playgrounds and parks for the tournament,'' said Dileep Barla from team Milizuli, who migrated from Jharkhand to Delhi.
Delhi NCR edged out Noida to clinch third place in the tournament. Veterans, over the age of 40, also participated in an exhibition match to showcase their skill. Originally from Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Odisha, the players reside in Delhi.
Father Nobert Xalxo, BEST Club Director, spearheaded the campaign of contacting various tribal leaders and urging them to send their teams for the tournament. Social media tools were also used to coordinate logistics for the matches which were held on Sundays. During the course of the tournament, potential youth were identified to be trained through DBTech and other institutions and be prepared for job placement.
''The aim of the tournament is to identify youngsters who we could help get jobs. Also to help the youth to interact and get to know each other. They work through the week, so Sundays, when the tournament is played, they can relax and socialize,'' said Father Xalxo.
''There are two types of migrants: those that come to study, and those that come to work. We focus on those that come to work. We train them and help them with placements and follow up on them. We have placed 30 youth since the first season of the tournament.''