Indian Women's League 2019-20 runners-up Kryphsa FC were supposed to receive 50 lakh rupees from the Manipur government, as were Neroca FC and TRAU FC, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the payment is stuck in the process and so is Kryphsa's survival. Kryphsa are barely getting by, having been unable to hold even a managing committee meeting due to the current situation in the state.
Normally, Kryphsa would be holding fundraiser and expecting donation from their regular donors and patrons but instead their hands are tied - they don't even have money to hold the fundraiser. "We are really suffering, the funds are minimal. Except player management, we are in an uncomfortable state in all other verticals," Kryphsa General Secretary Hemachandra Singh told News18.com.
Indian women's football team assistant coach and Kryphsa's coach Chaoba Devi told News18.com that they were practicing in full swing when Manipur was in green zone back in April. However, once Manipuris working elsewhere in the country started arriving back home, cases started rising and it has been a shutdown ever since.
To keep the players fit and motivated, Chaoba has prepared training and workout charts for the players, which they follow while at home. "Kids are performing their workouts and inform me about the same everyday," Chaoba said. While for top players of the club like Dangmei Grace and Ratanbala Devi, the workout pattern is different, all junior girls have the same schedule. "Girls have not even been able to run, all they are able to do is core exercises."
There are nine girls who have been residing in the Kryphsa facility all through the lockdown as they were unable to return to their homes. The girls are mainly 13 and 14 year-olds. Kryphsa were, however, able to induct a couple of players after some relaxation from the government and they are camping at the club's facility as well. "We cannot formalise this camp because a lot of players are missing," Singh added.
HOPES OF SEPTEMBER
"Even in US, the situation is bad but US Open is being held in September. People's awareness related to coronavirus is also increasing, so that can be seen as a positive sign," Singh hopes things can start to open up next month. Chaoba, however, feels that given the current situation, she doesn't see the Manipur league taking place next month as planned.
"Boris' case happened and now everyone is scared," Chaoba stated. India's 2017 FIFA U-17 Men's World Cup player Boris Thangjam tested positive for Covid-19 a couple of days ago becoming the first known player from the region to catch the virus.
"By November if we don't at least train, it will be a long delay and a lot of loss. We expect September to give some kind of start," Singh stated.
Singh said that Kryphsa's management holds at least two to three meetings in a month but due to coronavirus, they have not been able to hold any meetings, which has led to a delay in a lot of decision. Singh wasn't very forthcoming when asked whether the financial troubles at the club has led to job loss as well. He only said, "We haven't taken any decisions." Singh expects some hard decisions once things start re-opening.
Chaoba said the club does not usually find it difficult to get sponsors. Salai Holdings Pvt. Ltd. sponsored them for two years, during their first season in the IWL as well. On top of that, she said refreshment sponsors and boot sponsors are easy to come by.
If not for the coronavirus, Kryphsa would have been participated in inter-district league and inter-club league, that involves them, Manipur Police SC, YWC and sometimes Sports Authority of India. Not going any of these games, Chaoba says, is a massive loss for the girls and is a roadblock in their development.
Chaoba, however, was hopeful that coronavirus will not dent women's football in the state. "Clubs take more initiative in Manipur and take more interested in women's football than the men's."