Nethaji Football Club in new hands

Chennai: Nethaji Football Club, one of the oldest sides in the city league, has been bought by Rohit Ramesh from T R Govindarajan, founder-member of the club.

The final set of agreement between Rohit and Nethaji and the notification of the change in office-bearers of the club were made during the weekend. Rohit will become the president and Vikram Murali the secretary.

"I am really thrilled to buy a club steeped in history. I am sure we will work hard to make Nethaji one of the top teams in the country in the future. Our priority is to get Nethaji back to the senior division," said Rohit.

"The first thing Govindarajan told us when he sold the club is not to change its name. Counting Nethaji`s long history, we made Govindarajan the life patron," he added.

Founded on April 8, 1946, Nethaji was one of the top teams in the senior division teams for the past 20 years. The club clinched the title in 2008-09, but was relegated to the first division three years ago.

Govindarajan said he was finding it difficult to run the club with limited resources. "Sponsorship was hard to come by and we found it tough to assemble players. We did our best, but could not continue. I am now happy that the club is in the right hands," said the 88-year-old, the only surviving founder-member of the club.

C R Visswanathan, former president of Tamil Nadu Football Association, expressed his happiness on the development.

"I am confident that Nethaji will flourish now. It (Nethaji) has gone to the right set of people," he said.

Rohit said he was retaining the 18 players of the club, and would scout for four to five more players. Rohit`s goal is to ensure Nethaji play in the I-league.

"So our major perspective is to change Indian football. Especially in Tamil Nadu, as there is no team from here in the I-League. And football is growing and I think we are `in` at the right time," he said.

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