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Fraternity plays big-ticket game, come in aid for late footballer Dhanarajan Radhakrishnan’s kin

CHENNAI: Last month, the Indian football fraternity was shocked when former East Bengal and Mohun Bagan player Dhanarajan Radhakrishnan collapsed while playing a sevens football game in Kerala and passed away. Now his family is about to get a helping hand from two giants of Indian football.

Two days ago, Gokulam Kerala FC announced that the entire gate receipts of their upcoming I-League game against Churchill Brothers will be handed over to Dhanarajan’s family. After that announcement, two of India’s best strikers are buying tickets in bulk. Club sources revealed that current India captain Sunil Chhetri and former captain IM Vijayan have bought a large number of tickets.

It has been learnt that while Vijayan bought 250 tickets, Chhetri has bought 220. Both have asked that these be handed to football academies and NGOs nearby. “I can’t count how many sevens matches I have played with him (Dhanarajan),” said Vijayan.

“I went to his house as soon as I heard about him passing away. When I heard of this initiative, I wanted to do whatever I could for him. I’ve told the club to distribute those tickets to all the kids who want to watch the game. I’m happy that an I-League club from Kerala has come up with such an initiative.”

More than 3,000 tickets have been sold so far for the match that takes place on Sunday. The stadium has a capacity of 40,000. If the club manages to sell out the stadium, they will have raised more than Rs 15 lakh for Dhanarajan’s family.

The 39-year-old defender had reportedly collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest, while playing in a sevens football in Perinthalmanna on December 29. He was taken to a nearby hospital but passed away there.

Nothing free for Sunday games

The I-league football club has withdrawn all complimentary tickets, including  free entry for women for the Sunday match. Tickets are priced between Rs 60 and Rs 200