KPL PUNE - The Beginning
Pune is a city in the Maharashtra State of India and is historically known as the “Oxford of The East”. The tag comes from a rich and very long cultural & education heritage of the city. Of late, the city has become more cosmopolitan in its culture and population mix. Besides being a premier education center of India, Pune also boasts of a great sporting history & culture. Kothrud is a densely populated suburb of the city which has its own place of recognition in this sporting thread of Pune.
KPL PUNE is the brainchild of Sarthak & Anmol Mane, two brothers who eat, drink, sleep and live football! An inbuilt passion has been converted into a spirit of sporting brotherhood by the brothers in the form of KPL PUNE. Traditionally India has been a country that has been known for its excellence in the sports of hockey and cricket. However, other sports, especially football, are now being encouraged very actively in various forms and are here to stay.
Ten years ago, when Sarthak & Anmol indulged in casual, friendly neighborhood matches of football, they realized that they need to get in more & more youngsters to participate. Their mission was (& still is) to spread the joy of football and bind people together in a sporting spirit. They were also equally possessed by the fact that India lagged way behind in the International arena in the football domain. They wanted to change that and the result was the birth and organization of the Kothrud Premier League – KPL PUNE, as it is known today.
KPL PUNE - Today
KPL PUNE, when it took shape and its baby steps ten years ago, started with the creation & participation of 6 teams with just 60 players. The evolution from that time to today has been phenomenal and KPL PUNE now organizes football matches for 40 teams with 700 players, spread over a period of three months! A true achievement for the people, by the people. Starting with meagre resources, this brainchild of Sarthak & Anmol has come a long way in a span of ten years. The spirit of sports and football has indeed penetrated the grassroots and today KPL PUNE stands tall as a ‘one-of-its-kind” sporting league, not just in the city of Pune but perhaps in the country. All this with no professional or high spending marketing budgets or aggressive publicity or fancy entrapments for the players! The hard work, dedication, vision, managing people, persistence and above all passion, have been the pillars of KPL PUNE’s evolution, sustenance and growth. Failures have been great teachers in KPL PUNE’s journey thus far. However, the keen enthusiasm of participants and Sarthak & Anmol has always prevailed to keep KPL PUNE moving on and ahead.
KPL PUNE - Teams & Format
The venue for KPL PUNE games for the last three years has been Shri Mahavir Jain Sports Ground, a prime location at the heart of Pune. As a growth endeavor, KPL PUNE has plans for bigger and better football grounds and even larger scale organization of the league. Taking it to the next level, guys!!
KPL PUNE follows its one of a kind 7-a-side format. It is a league format which lasts for over 4 months. Close to 700 players, making 40 teams, participate in KPL PUNE each year. Budding, aspiring and enthusiastic youngsters between the age group of 18 to 25 years ae encouraged to participate. The League matches are held only on the weekends and holidays. The League commences in January each year and concludes in May. The rules for the League are largely based on the rules that apply to the European style of football. The games are scheduled way before the season start, thus allowing the players to plan their weekends accordingly. KPL PUNE has been witnessing a growing waiting list of teams when the registrations are opened each year. And now, teams from the Northern parts of Maharashtra State are travelling to Pune to participate. The KPL PUNE phenomenon is extending its reach beyond Pune!
KPL PUNE - Achievements
- “India khelega (will play for India)” cried out an onlooker when Akshay Nair, the League striker, pulled tricks on the Premier League defenders. Akshay has gone on to be selected for the Futsal India team!!
- Another player from KPL PUNE, Nikhil Mali aka Pikya also got selected to Liverpool FC youth academy.
- Rugved Yeole is another such player who is now playing for the Catalan League Club U.D. Unificacion Bellvitge.
KPL PUNE - Expressions
- Looking back at the six seasons, Sumit, ‘The Captain’ of Team KHS, having played all the previous season quotes, “Football teaches a lot about life. It teaches us to have patience in whatever decisions we’d take, and here we do that week in week out.”
- “It is exciting as fair-play is observed while playing all throughout the tournament” says Nemesis’ former Captain, Siddhesh who retired from the league two years ago due to age limit. He is still seen on the sidelines waving instruction to his team mates, taking more of a manager’s role.