• Ritwik Khanna

Conqueror's Cup: Rebuilding Football Culture in Delhi

The admission of Sudeva FC has put Delhi on India’s footballing map again and it has gotten the city’s citizens all pumped up. The capital city has been the pioneer for sunday league football in India but has crucially lagged behind in corporate tournaments. These tournaments are key to building a footballing culture and Delhi’s lack of such competitions is telling. However, with renewed zeal, corporate football is back in the form of the Conqueror’s Cup. It is fitting that the resurgence of corporate football comes at a time of many project restarts. A 16 team, one-day tournament on the 21st of February, the Conqueror’s Cup has many eyes on it. With a round robin group stage followed by a knockout phase, corporate teams are eagerly looking forward to this challenge. Gladdy Rozario, one of the founders, is well known among the Delhi footballing circuit. Him and his team felt the absence of the tournaments and decided to carpe diem. “The primary reason why we organised a corporate tournament was because he wanted to revive the sport in the corporate sector. Being corporate guys ourselves, we felt a need to take the initiative to organise a mega-event so that the working class knows that football is back in the capital,” he said. It however hasn’t been all easy going. The drought of tournaments has dried up the interest of sponsors as well. While there is enthusiasm amongst the citizens, it hasn’t yet spread like a pandemic to help scale it. The Conqueror’s cup team has been hard at work trying to find sponsors to add that extra bit of glitter come Sunday. Decathlon has been brought in as the Merchandise Partner, Responsible Whatr is the Hydration Partner, Happiness Plated will be responsible for refreshments as the Food Partner while Hudle is the Booking Partner for the competition. The sponsors reflect an ideal new look of footballing culture in India and globally that is synergistic with local businesses, is conscious of the environment but most importantly, looks to build meaningful relations and provide competitive football. Besides, generating interest from sponsors, even getting new teams involved proved to be a hassle. “The biggest challenge was encouraging the lesser known teams to join. These teams had one or two passionate players and that helped us in getting them registered for our venture. In fact, our primary focus is to have new companies develop sports culture,” Gladdy revealed.

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