ITANAGAR- Chief Minister Pema Khandu today assured to implement the grassroot football development program of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in Arunachal Pradesh, which was today launched by AIFF’s Grassroot Football Development Committee Chairman Shantanu Pujari for the state in presence of AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey.
Welcoming the AIFF delegation headed by Chaubey to Arunachal Pradesh, Khandu said that the grassroot football development program that aims to tap, select and nurture football talents in the age group of 6 to 12 years, is ambitious and timely.
“This is the age group if nurtured and technically equipped will go on to become worldclass players,” he said.
Khandu, who also happens to be the honorary president of the Arunachal Pradesh Football Association (APFA), announced that the state government will begin this program in 100 schools, preferably government-run, very soon in consultation with the department of education.
He said schools with existing infrastructure along with a qualified physical training teacher will be given preference.
“Physical training teachers of selected schools will be trained by AIFF experts so that they are technically equipped to train budding footballers in their respective schools,” Khandu divulged.
He expressed optimism that Arunachal Pradesh, in coming years, would be able to contribute talented footballers to the national team.
Khandu reiterated his endorsement to promote futsal in the state, which has garnered immense popularity amongst all age group people. He said that one futsal ground will be developed in each district of the state and handed over to district football associations (DFAs) for its upkeep and maintenance. He claimed futsal is one good way to hone one’s footballing talents.
“Futsal in the districts can also generate revenue for the DFAs, which in turn can be used for maintenance of the ground,” he said.
Khandu also suggested that the department concerned need to rope in sports related associations in holding of all government sponsored sporting events.
“Associations of that particular sport needs to be engaged in for govt-events as they have the knowledge and expertise on that particular field,” he observed.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister hailed the visit of Chaubey and his AIFF team to Arunachal Pradesh terming it as a history.
“Since its inception in 1937, no AIFF president has ever set foot in our state, where football is the most popular game,” he said.
Khandu viewed the visit as the AIFF’s seriousness in taking football to far-fetched areas of the country under its new president Chaubey.
“We have high hopes from this new AIFF team to take football to the next level and witness the national team play in the world cup,” he said.
Khandu also congratulated Kipa Ajay for being elected as the Treasurer of AIFF and John Neelam for being nominated as Member of the Grassroot Football Development Committee, first two Arunachalees to be ever in the AIFF.
Legislative Assembly Speaker P D Sona, AIFF representatives, members of APFA, Arunachal Olympic Association and District Football Associations were also present during the function organized to facilitate interaction with AIFF at D K Hall at the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly secretariat.