Elite Tata academy spawns 13 dribblers

Thirteen cadets bade adieu to Tata Football Academy (TFA) on Monday when the elite cradle hosted its 11th convocation at Michael John Auditorium in Bistupur.

By Our Correspondent
  • Published 3.11.15
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The graduates of Tata Football Academy at their convocation on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

Thirteen cadets bade adieu to Tata Football Academy (TFA) on Monday when the elite cradle hosted its 11th convocation at Michael John Auditorium in Bistupur.

The convocation, originally scheduled for February-March 2016, was brought forward as football clubs across the country are signing up players for I-League and TFA did not want its graduates to miss golden opportunities.

In fact, four cadets have already bagged berths. They are Thiyam Chingkheinganba (Mumbai FC), Hitesh Sharma (also Mumbai FC), Konsham Chinglensana (Shillong Lajong) and Aibanbha Kupar Dohling (Bengaluru FC).

Tata Steel managing director T.V. Narendran gave away certificates and mementos to the graduates in the presence of former TFA director Chuni Goswami, chairman of the academy board Sunil Bhaskaran and CEO of I-League Sunando Dhar. Also present were Jharkhand Football Association president Nazm Ansari, Tata Steel sports wing chief Farzan Heerjee and its head Charles Borromeo. Parents and representatives of Tata Workers' Union and Tata Group of companies too came to cheer the cadets.

Thiyam, Hitesh, Konsham, Aibanbha, Shaikhom Ronald Singh, Seiminlun Kipgen, Sourav Das, Samrat Chowdhury, M. Rahul Raj, O. Romtan Singh, Asil K., Agiapal Singh and Khaikhogen Kipgen honed their skills under experienced mentors at the premier cradle for almost four years.

Konsham, who walked home with the Best Gentleman Cadet Award, said he had enjoyed his days at the academy. "Despite being away from home, we felt at home," the 19-year-old added.

Narendran asked the boys to work hard. "There is no substitute for it. Talent is necessary, but diligence is of paramount importance," Narendran, who was conferred TFA Blue, added.

Goswami, who played a key role in establishing TFA in 1987, said, "I feel nostalgic. It's like homecoming for me."

Around 200 boys have so far graduated from TFA and 134 have donned India jersey at various tournaments.