The plight of noted sports commentator and author Novy Kapadia, confined to his home in West Delhi, has left the football fraternity in Delhi and around the country sad. Pictures of an otherwise vibrant Kapadia, now unable to even move around his house without assistance, have been distressing for many of us who have known Kapadia for close to four decades.
“What pains me is the fact that Novy has not been paid his pension for more than two years. His service to football is unmatched and it is time the football fraternity lends support to the man who did so much to popularise the game. This generation of football lovers owes it to him. His background of teaching ensured he had a smooth flow in his commentary and impeccable pronunciation,” said commentator Ghaus Mohammad, who has been Kapadia’s partner on radio and television for more than 30 years.
Having covered nine FIFA World Cup tournaments, the 67-year-old Kapadia is considered an authority on football in India.
“Football has been a passion for me. It hurts that I can’t do my commentary now but I feel elated when my students visit me and friends drop in. I have enjoyed my travels for football but now I miss all that. I am not able to step out of the house at all and have to use a walker when moving around. Football took me all over the world but that way of life has sadly come to an end now,” bemoaned Kapadia, who taught English at Khalsa College in Delhi University for 41 years and has been waiting to receive his pension for 31 months.
Kapadia, who once owned the Ashoka Club and played football in the local league, has been afflicted by motor neurone disease, a rare disease that causes the nerves in the spine and brain to lose function over time.
Novy Kapadia pictured in his Delhi house. – Special Arrangement
“I have served Delhi University with all dedication and hope I get help at this stage of my life from the Government to meet my medical expenses,” he pleaded.
According to veteran football scribe Jaydeep Basu, “Novy is one of the finest grassroots reporters of Indian football. He has deep technical knowledge of football and the players. I envy his understanding of the game and I am sad that he has been sort of neglected by society. I am sure help will pour in for him to meet his medical expenses,” said Basu.
Football guru for some and football encyclopedia for others, Kapadia – known for his anecdotal style of commentary – is yet to hear from the Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, who has promised to look unto the matter.