Aizawl, Oct. 15: The Federation Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) Grassroots Football Programme for India was inaugurated here today with chief minister Lalthanhawla pronouncing it a red letter day in the history of sports in Mizoram.
Fifa officials working with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) representatives said this programme is aimed at spotting talent for a team good enough to play in the 2017 Under-17 World Cup. This is the first Fifa grassroots programme in India.
For this programme, 28 Mizoram Football Association (MFA) coaches will undergo an intensive four-day course by Scott O’Donell, chief instructor in AIFF representing Fifa. These coaches will then conduct the three-month-long football course for children between 6-12 years to be held after this.
O’Donell told The Telegraph that this is a pilot project for the grassroots programme in India by Fifa. “Fifa wants to create a base from where talent can be spotted and supported,” he said.
“When it came to choosing a state to start from, Mizoram was an easy choice as it has everything Fifa needed to make the programme a success,” O’Donell said.
The Mizoram grassroots football model will be showcased in Calcutta next week to show what the state has done.
Curator demise: The Assam Cricket Association’s preparation to host the Ranji Trophy and other BCCI tournament matches in the state suffered a major blow today, as the only pitch curator in the state, Sunil Baruah, passed away after a cardiac stroke last night. The 72-year-old breathed his last around 11.45pm. The former census department official is survived by his wife, son and daughter.