A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. These words by John C. Maxwell manage to perfectly encompass the qualities of a true leader in the sense of the word. In order for a team to be a successful one, the leader has to be competent and confident to achieve the goals. Mumbai Football needed a leader to achieve success, and one man who stepped up when needed was Mr. Aditya Thackeray.
The Yuva Sena Chief and grandson of legendary Maratha leader Balasaheb Thackeray and son of Shiv Sena Party President Uddhav Thackeray was appointed as chairman of the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) in 2013.
The over three-decade-old MDFA is responsible for association football in and around Mumbai, and gets money through entry fees of the various leagues that it conducts across the city. He had always worked for spearheading the growth of sports in the city such as hockey, swimming, cricket at the grassroots level. This appointment gave him a chance to change and improve the conditions at an administrative level.
Aditya reflected on the game, “Football is a very easy game to play. all you need is a football and a ground, unlike other sports which require a lot of accessories for the contest.”
And he took upon himself the task to providing proper grounds for the kids in Mumbai to play the beautiful game. In Nov 2015, MDFA finally got a ground that it could call its own. MHADA (Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority) allotted a plot of land in Bandra to the association to be developed as a ground for matches to be conducted.
Aditya also played an important role in retaining the St. Xaviers, Parel ground from being overtaken by the BMC for open spaces. The ground had been used for a long time for MDFA games and was under threat but Thackeray did his needful for the ground and it continues to play host to a lot of youth MDFA matches regularly.
One of the biggest achievements of Mr. Thackeray’s tenure has been the development of the Mumbai Football Arena at Andheri which will be further highlighted in the second part of our series on the dynamic leader of Mumbai football.