The coronavirus pandemic has left the workers in the lower half of the football pyramid in the lurch with the season on halt and jobs gone. Three football coaches in Mumbai have had to resort to selling vegetables, making kebabs and being a delivery man.
Prasad Bhosale, Siddhesh Srivastav, and Samrat Rana have lost their jobs amid the pandemic and are looking for other ways to keep their homes going.
Bhosale, who was let off by his school in March after which he had to resort to selling vegetable, said it was awkward at first but when there's a need at home, one cannot think of all that.
"When I sold vegetables, I did feel awkward for the first few days. I am a Masters in Physical Education, a double graduate, and selling vegetables now. But when your stomach is empty and there are more hungry people at home, you stop thinking all that. I carry grain bags and vegetables on my shoulders, fill my cart, and sell on the streets," Bhosale told The Indian Express.
Srivastava was coaching kids at two schools during the day while working with a private football academy in the evening. The Bangalore-based company which employed him for the same told him they couldn't afford to pay salaries.
"We were not paid for the last few months," Srivastav said. "We wrote to the company a few times and they replied last month that they can't pay us salaries and have terminated our contracts. My father is retired and I have to take care of my family, so we decided to sell kebabs."
School coaches had approached Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA) in order to get their jobs back but the association said they couldn't do anything. And the livelihoods of coaches continue to be hit.
Rana, the head of football academy CSPI with nine centres in Mumbai, was also coaching junior I-League teams but has been jobless because of the pandemic.
"Now I have become a delivery boy, I tried popular companies like Zomato and Swiggy but there was no vacancy. So, I became a delivery boy for a nearby restaurant. I had small savings and was forced to sell mother's gold. My brother also lost his job. We had nine centres and I was the overall head. I have three brothers (one plays football) and they are all into sports. Now, we have to support our families through other means."