Pathanapuram: Fervour was at its peak as youngsters waded through ankle-deep mud with great skill and finesse to find the net of the opposite team. The roar of the spectators reached a crescendo as the striker scored a goal; this is the spirit of mud football for you.
The most thrilling aspect of this genre of soccer is that sometimes mind and the body won’t work in unison because of the rather slippery conditions of the ‘football turf’.
Recently, a mud football tournament, which is not popular in south Kerala, held at Ponnilam near here in Kollam district under the aegis of the panchayat authorities, and the matches attracted people in droves.
The watery mud turf is 25m long and 15m wide, and is similar to the field set for ‘kannu pootu’, wherein oxen or buffaloes are used for ploughing.
Each team has five to seven members and the match duration is 20 minutes, split into two halves of 10 minutes each. Wayanad District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) lifted the trophy, and Malappuram district the runner-up. Kozhikode district took the third spot.
A ‘kannu pootu’, exhibition also organised as a prelude to the match. The event inaugurated by block panchayat president A Sajeesh, and panchayat president Latha Somarajan presided over the function. DTPC district secretary Satheesh Kumar introduced the players to the spectators.
H Riyaz Mohammed, Lini Raju, R Renjith, P A Spencer, K Mani Kumar, Shyamavarnan and Anandan spoke on the occasion.