Kick The Bottle Football League

Kick The Bottle Football League
Photo : Gowtam Maharaj

Kick the Bottle Football Leagues kicks off this Saturday at the Blue Birds Community Recreation Ground, Rochard Road, Barrackpore. Twelve groups (six per side) have registered so far to compete for trophies and cash prizes.

The competition will open with a round robin where each team will be allowed to compete with all the other teams. This would be followed with a semi-final round where the elimination process would begin and the finals where the top two teams will clash.

The league is community driven with no help from the Ministry of Sports. “It is a community self-help project,” said Gowtam.  “The villagers are our sponsors.”

The slogan of the competition is Say No to the Bottle. The League was inspired by Andy Harripersad, a young man who has been able to escape the jaws of alcoholism. Now rehabilitated, Andy is on a mission to get “my fellow Barrackporeans to pour their drinks down the drains.” Andy will be delivering a message to all the players at the opening ceremony scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

“The League is not just kicking ball; it is about saving lives,” said Gowtam, President of Blue Birds Sports and Cultural Organization. “Few sporting activities take place without alcohol. Our aim is to kick this habit.”

Gowtam continued: “More than fifteen years ago the executive and members of Blue Birds took a decision not to have alcohol sales for fundraising. This stirred much debate but the decision not to have alcohol was upheld.”

Alcohol addiction is linked with high unemployment and poverty. “After the sugar industry was dismantled in 2003, nothing was done to develop an alternative income, “Gowtam lamented.

“The government is failing agriculture. The recent flooding resulted in big losses to farmers and no help from the government. The drains and rivers remain clogged waiting for the next flood,” said one villager who is  a rice and food crop farmer.

The Blue Birds Sports and Cultural Organizations is an institution in the Rochard Road district working to strengthen the community. Working with the Chinmaya Mission of Trinidad and Tobago, the Blue Birds runs a Pre-school at its headquarters in addition to its regular Sunday Morning Baal Vihaar for kids and other social and cultural activities.

Well known for its delicious pepper-roti at the food court at Divali Nagar, Blue Birds has been successful over the past 17 years in integrating pepper roti into the cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago.

For further info call Gowtam Maharaj 703-1098