The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Tuesday launched its grassroots football development (GFD) scheme in Arunachal Pradesh with an aim to tap, select and nurture football talents in the age group of 6 to 12 years.
GFD committee chairman Shantanu Pujari launched the scheme in the presence of Chief Minister Pema Khandu and AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey.
Terming the GFD as ambitious and timely, the Chief Minister said: "This is the age group, which if nurtured and technically equipped, will go on to become world class players."
Khandu, who is also the honorary President of the Arunachal Pradesh Football Association (APFA), announced that the state government would begin this scheme in 100 schools, preferably government-run, very soon in consultation with the state's education department.
He said schools with existing infrastructure along with a qualified physical training teacher would be given preference.
"Physical training teachers of selected schools would be trained by AIFF experts so that they are technically equipped to train budding footballers in their respective schools," Khandu said.
He expressed optimism that Arunachal Pradesh, in the coming years, would be able to contribute talented footballers to the national team.
Khandu also reiterated his endorsement to promote futsal in the state, which has garnered immense popularity among all age group people.
He said that one futsal arena would be developed in each district of the state and handed over to the district football associations for its upkeep and maintenance.
Claiming that futsal is one good way to hone one's footballing talents, the Chief Minister said: "Futsal in the districts can also generate revenue for the DFAs, which in turn can be used for maintenance of the venue."
Khandu also suggested that the department concerned need to rope in sports related associations in holding all government sponsored sporting events.
"Since its inception in 1937, no AIFF President has ever set foot in our state, where football is the most popular game," he said.
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