Jairam Ramesh with one of the soccer senoritas in Ormanjhi, Ranchi, last year
As the world waits with bated breath for the 2014 FIFA Cup to kick off in Brazil on Thursday, thousands of miles away a bunch of tribal girls in Ranchi are expecting an Indian cricket hero to pad up for their passion for soccer.
Virat Kohli Foundation, a charity organisation for underprivileged children run by the middle-order batsman, is learnt to have approached the Yuwa India for exploring tie-up possibilities.
Yuwa founder Franz Gastler, a US national who trains the soccer senoritas of Ormanjhi, said he had received an email from Kohli’s charity foundation a couple of days ago.
“The organisation has expressed its willingness to support our football eves. Talks are on and I am sanguine that they will soon come on board,” Gastler told The Telegraph on Wednesday.
He didn’t elaborate on the kind of tie-up they were mulling, but said they would explore partnerships in all quarters, including corporate, to build a residential Yuwa Learning Centre.
Fatema Merchant of Cornerstone Sports & Entertainment, who looks after Kohli’s foundation, wasn’t available for comment when her office was called. She is also yet to reply to an email.
However, another official of the firm confirmed that they had approached Yuwa India. “We are exploring tie-ups, but at the moment it is at a very preliminary stage. One of our mandates is to support noble causes by connecting with genuine NGOs. Last year, we tied up with four in Delhi,” said the official.
Last year, the state government had mooted a plan to build a permanent training facility for the eves after former Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh spearheaded their cause. The project remains a non-starter so far owing to differences between the government and Yuwa Foundation over administrative issues.
“We are working on our own to set up a learning centre, which will give these girls an opportunity to get world-class coaching and education, besides nutrition. Let’s see how things shape up. If the cricketer’s foundation comes on board, it will cement a better future for these budding footballers,” Gastler said.
Yuwa founder admitted he had also thought of approaching Team India skipper M.S. Dhoni, who is also from Ranchi. “Yes. For quite sometime, it has been on my mind.”
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