Arsenal Chennai Supporters Club are one of the leading fan bases in the country for the north London side. Fans from various part of the city gather together to share their passion for Arsenal during the match day screenings. The Cannon Cup is a 5-a-side football tournament organized by ACSC to promote football in the city and the second edition of the tournament is set to be conducted on 25th and 26th of July. We caught up with Enoch Paul, one of the organizers to learn more about the tournament.
Excerpts on the ACSC Cannon Cup 2016
How did the concept of Cannon Cup evolve?
We at Arsenal Chennai Supporters Club always wanted to promote football in the city. The very concept originated when we all used to hang out with friends from ACSC during the off season. Few of our friends hinted out how fantastic it would be if ACSC as a brand could organize football tournaments. We had been doing FIFA PS3 tournaments and social activities in the past and decided to go forward with the idea but we never knew that we would be organizing this tournament very year. We are proud that we have played a role in promoting football in Chennai.
How did you take forward the idea of hosting the football tournament from idea to reality?
I personally did not have the experience of organizing a tournament gathering teams from various places. The Cannon cup was my first attempt but our team had members who had the experience – the likes of Visvesh, Karthik and Marshal played a vital role.
We had to lot of marketing to promote the tournament, to make the people aware of the tournament. Football tournaments don’t happen often in Chennai and so it was received with lot of interest and eagerness. One of the most difficult things to manage was finding the correct stadium to host the tournament – in terms of accessibility, facilities and finance and we had to make sure that all the matches were conducted within the two days and we faced the challenges and came out successful in the inaugural season.
How was the response and how did the action unfold?
The response was more than what we imagined. The reality that we had teams from Kanyakumari, Bangalore, Coimbatore and Pondicherry to play a 5 a side football tournament in Chennai was something which surprised us.
In fact, the second day of the tournament last year was washed out but teams came and participated in the following weekend so the tournament was completed in proper fashion despite the alternative plans they had.
What do you think is the most exciting thing about ACSC Cannon Cup?
To see the school kids and their enthusiasm while playing toe to toe with professional players. Meeting new people who shared the same passion for football.
Few words about the team behind the Cannon cup tournament
Visvesh, Antony, Karthik, Marshan and myself were the organizers but the entire team of Arsenal Chennai Supporters Club made the tournament a reality through contributions in various aspects. In fact, after the tournament, many clubs asked us on how to conduct a football tournament.
What do you have to say about this year’s Cannon Cup?
This year’s tournament is bigger in terms of the number of participating teams as we have 48 teams with 10 teams as stand by. To add to the prize money, we have planned to give individual gift hampers worth 10k to the members of the podium finishing teams alongside individual awards such as golden boot, golden glove, goal of the tournament and player of the tournament.
I hope we could execute the Cannon Cup just as we had planned or even better, God willing!