New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) The Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI) is set to take the game to every household in the country with the Ultimate Kho Kho league. The 8-team league in the inaugural edition will have Pune and Bengaluru, as six more get finalised soon. The players will be drafted into the teams as owners will not be familiar with their specialities.
Speaking to IANS, league CEO Tenzing Niyogi said that he wanted to give the league a pan-India look and added that there was wide scope to tap into places where the game is a massive hit.
“We are looking to make it as widespread as possible. We aren’t looking to call in people to watch the games. Say a place like Nasik has people coming in to watch mud kho kho. As of now there are two shortlisted cities. One is Pune and the other is Bengaluru. Karnataka is massive, Kerala is massive, Maharashtra is humongous. MP, Jharkhand, Bengal all these places are also there.
“We are looking at these pockets for first two years. We will have team auctions first and players will be drafted. The players will be graded into categories A, B and C. Third year onwards the teams will have an option to retain top 5 players as IPL,” he explained.
Rajeev Mehta, chairman of the KKFI echoed the sentiments and said that there is huge scope for the league. “We looked at kabaddi and compared kho kho to that. I kept thinking if we could change this into a league. I proposed the idea and the response was brilliant.
“I am getting calls personally as people are keen to buy teams. The people want to know the details and I am confident this league will be a huge success. We are increasing this country-wise. We need international players to come in and that is when you will see this grow,” he said.
Amit Burman of Dabur India, also a part of the project, said that the Indian Premier League has set the ball rolling for other leagues to break into the game and he feels it will be a quality experience for the Indian players as they look to prepare to take on the best players across the world.
“I am really excited about the prospect. This (collaboration) has happened by chance and Tenzing was helping KKFI to take this league into a private domain. We connected and here we are. I think people want to see other sports and these leagues encourage them.
“With kho kho getting into Asian Games, a league like this — it will help the players prepare better as Indian players will get to play alongside international players,” he smiled.
Speaking on the occasion, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said: “Indigenous sports are the manifestation of the local genius and ethos. I am very happy that a league is being launched for kho kho. Surely, this will go a long way in enhancing the popularity of this very Indian sport and will open new vistas for the players and the fans.”