The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Grassroots Football Programme for India was inaugurated by the chief minister of Mizoram Lal Thanhawla on 15th October. This is the first FIFA grassroots programme in India.
The Chief Minister, who is also the founder president of Mizoram Football Association pronounced it a red letter day in the history of sports in Mizoram.
FIFA official working with the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Mr Scott O’Donell said this grassroot programme is aimed at spotting talent for the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup which the AIFF is bidding to host.
For this programme, 28 Mizoram Football Association (MFA) coaches will undergo an intensive four-day training under Mr Scott O’Donell, chief instructor in AIFF representing Fifa. These coaches will then conduct the FIFA Grassroot football course for children between 6-12 years to be held later this year.
O’Donell said that, “FIFA wants to create a base from where talent can be spotted and supported. The very idea of grassroot football is still very new in India, however, with the pilot project to be started soon in Mizoram, I’m sure that there will be many such projects coming up in the other states,” he said.
Explaining the reason why the AIFF choose to start its pilot project in Mizoram, “When it came to choosing a state to start from, Mizoram was an easy choice as the Mizoram Football Association is pro-active and shows that they can really do the job. Not only this, the state goverment is very supportive to the development of football as it has laid three artificial football turfs on its own expense without any help from the FIFA,” O’Donell said.
The course will end on the 19th October with a football festival for the kids.