Old friends Bhutia and Vijayan meet in Palakkad

A new synthetic turf had been laid at Palakkad’s Noorani ground – it was Kerala’s fourth after the Thrissur’s Corporation Stadium, Kochi’s Ambedkar Stadium and Kasargod’s Trikaripur ground – and a Bhutia XI played a Vijayan XI to mark the occasion.

Former Indian footbal lstriking partners I. M. Vijayan and Bhaichung Bhutia at Kerala's fourth astro-turf stadium in Palakkad.   -  K. K. Mustafah

Baichung Bhutia and I.M. Vijayan, thick friends and old gems of Indian football, walked down memory lane as they played a friendly at the Noorani football ground in Palakkad on Monday.

A new synthetic turf had been laid at Palakkad’s Noorani ground – it was Kerala’s fourth after the Thrissur’s Corporation Stadium, Kochi’s Ambedkar Stadium and Kasargod’s Trikaripur ground – and a Bhutia XI played a Vijayan XI to mark the occasion.

“We had a nice, lively crowd for the event and a few MLAs played too,” said former international and Kerala Santosh Trophy coach V.P. Shaji who was a part of Bhutia’s team which included the wily former Kerala forward Asif Saheer.

The Vijayan’s side included former Indian captains C. V. Pappachan and U. Sharafali apart from P. Usman who led Kerala in the recent Santosh Trophy.

Shaji Parambil, who had spent Rs 2.54 crore from his local area fund for the project, was also part of the action along with fellow MLAs R. Rajesh and V.T. Balram.

“But this is not a full-fledged ground, it’s a bit smaller, we cannot use it for professional matches,” said P. Anilkumar, the Kerala Football Association Secretary.

“It’s something like 90m by 56m but our minimum requirement is 100 by 60.”

  Dugout videos