It was the summer of 2011 and HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) was gearing up to book a place in I-League, India`s Premier Football Competition. HAL was to face Titanium, a low ranked club from Kerala. Seemed it could had been a one- sided game in favour of HAL, they took their opponent for granted and despite all the efforts of this Premier Team from Bangalore, they couldn`t manage to score a single goal against their Kerala opponent and the match finally ended in a goalless draw.
A few days back, HAL star, Xavier Vijaya Kumar was honoured with Ekalavya Award by the Karnataka Government for his outstanding performance in football. However, this Award became a taunt at him by the crowd at the Bangalore Football Stadium who witnessed a poor play by their local team. They shouted ‘Ekalavyyaaaaa, Ekalavyyaaaaa,’ at Xavier telling him that he did not deserve this prestigious award.
This incident gave him a sleepless night and he decided to step down from the captaincy of the team.
A week later, he bounced back scoring two goals to secure victory over Oil India which made the progression of the team to I-League easier. Ironically, the crowd who taunted him in the earlier match gave him the standing ovation.
This is one of the interesting incidents Xavier talked about his football career. A native of Kolar, studied schooling in St. Joseph Convent was bold from his childhood in engaging in rough tackling with boys bigger in his size in a football game. It came to the notice of S Arul Siluvai, Father of Xavier who was once employed in Kolar Gold mines and became a guiding force to nurture his career in football seriously.
Xavier was selected to play in school team at 8th standard and later become best football player of the district of Kolar in 1991-92. Going further, his talent was spotted by the District Head of Football of Kolar region and was selected in Sports Authority of India in Bangalore. However, things turned different when he lost his father in 1997. His mother Mary Arul Selvi, a school teacher, struggled to manage the family of four – his two sisters were unmarried at that time – with her meagre income. He was desperately looking for a financial support.
The two years of play with Sports Authority of India in Bangalore District Football Association (BDFA) A Division League, Xavier showed some phenomenal performance which grabbed the interest of HAL officials and finally he was taken in HAL team.
After joining HAL, Xavier represented and captained Karnataka in various age group championships as well as the Santosh Trophy. Soon he caught the eye of Indian selectors and was drafted into the Indian team for qualifying matched of the Asian Youth Under-19 football championship which held in Bangalore in 1998.
Three years later, he was picked for the national camp for a tour of Pakistan. But the tournament was cancelled following attacks on the World Trade Centre in the US.
In 2006, he figured in the senior national side for the AFC Asia Cup qualifying round matches against Japan and Yemen. The same year, he was named vice-captain in India`s AFC Challenge Cup campaign in Bangladesh.
In the I-League season of 2010-11, Dempo, the defending Champions of I-League 2009-10 suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of HAL, Bangalore. Ironically, in the earlier match, Dempo, clobbered Air India 14-0. The score of the game played against HAL was 4-2 in favour of HAL, a lifesaving game enough for HAL to save the drop at the cost of JCT Mills. The teams finished with 24 points each, the same as ONGC and AIR INDIA, but JCT and ONGC finished at the bottom of the pool after taking into account the head-to-head results between these four teams. The credit for this victory was given to Xavier, the man of the match who scored two goals despite the fact that he missed many matches because of injury or yellow cards.
This game was a turning point in the career graph of Xavier as it opened the gates of other clubs for him.
Churchill Brothers, the Goan Club contacted him soon after the game and after 13 long seasons with HAL, Xavier decided to quit HASC (Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club) and signed a two-year contract with Churchill Brothers for Rs.90 Lakhs when the I-league transfer window opened. As per him leaving HAL was a heartbreaking decision he had taken in his life owing to the fact that the company (HAL) provided him with the permanent job in the times of trouble. However, deciding to play for Churchill Brothers with the Rs.90 Lakhs offer was indeed an undeniable offer. The performance was even prompted India Coach Armando Colaco to draft Xavier into national camp for the world cup qualifier against UAE.
Xavier returned back to HAL in 2013 for One Year Contract under Coach Chandrasekhar.
He is married to Preetha. They have two children, Alan Sanjay and Judith Jyothi.
*Represented Senior Indian Team for the AFC Asian Cup 2007 qualifying match against Japan on 22nd Feb 2006 held at Yokohama.
*Represented Senior Indian Team for AFC Asia Cup 2007 qualifying match against Yemen held at Delhi on 1st of March 2006.
*Represented Indian Team for AFC U-20 qualifying competition held at Bangalore in the year 1998 and won the trophy.
*Represented Senior Nationals Santhosh Trophy for Karnataka State continuously for 10 years and Captained 4 times.
*Captained HAL Football team for 5 years.
*Scored five goals and won five man of the match awards in the I-League of 2008-2009.
*Played for Churchill Brother`s football club, Goa for 2 years and Won Durand Cup.
• Received KOA Award (Karnataka Olympic Association) for the best sports person for Karnataka State in Football given by Karnataka Olympic Association by Ex-Chief Minister Shri. S.M. Krishna in the year 2002.
• Received Eklavya Award for the year 2007, most Prestigious award in Karnataka State given by Karnataka Olympic Association by Shri. H. R Bhardwaj, Governor of Karnataka at Glass House, Rajbhavan, Bangalore.
• Received Karnataka Rajyotsava Award for the Best Sportsman in HAL during the year 2009.
• Presently working for BOCA Juniors football academy as a Football Coach.