Gujarat football kicks off into a brighter future

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], October 10 (ANI): Gujarat has made tremendous progress in football over the last five-ten years, thanks to various developmental activities that are aimed at propelling it into the top tiers of Indian football in the near future.

The Assam Kaziranga University admissions

Team Gujarat gave a few glimpses of what the future holds, shocking fancied Punjab 3-2 in their Pool B league match in the 36th National Games here. Last year, too, they humbled mighty Goa in the qualifiers for the Santosh Trophy to signal their arrival on the big stage.

Providing details about Gujarat’s advance both on and off the pitch, Mulrajsinh Chudasama, honorary general secretary of Gujarat Football Association, who is also Football Competition Manager for the National Games, revealed that state leagues are held for men (to be played on a home & away basis), women, juniors and sub juniors.

As part of the Under-17 Khelo India initiative, the association will also launch city leagues in four cities (Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Bhavnagar).

Recently appointed as chairman of the AIFF’s grassroots development committee, Chudasama affirmed that he is committed to implementing the Football for Schools project, Baby Leagues and e-certificate coaching courses, all part of the development agenda, on an all-India basis. FIFA will donate one million footballs to be distributed among 10,000 schools all over India for its Football for Schools project. The first lot of balls have already gone to Odisha.

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Chudasama revealed that Gujarat has faithfully implemented these AIFF-recommended programmes over the past few years. In fact, we have added almost 100 coaches to our pool of (e-certificate) coaches and plan to double this figure next year, he predicted.

Baby Leagues have also been made compulsory in all districts. “We have taken a strict decision that district associations which do not conduct Baby Leagues will not get permanent status,” he warned.

The official also drew attention to the top quality “FIFA-level” grounds at TransStadia, Shahibagh Police Ground etc, that were readied when Ahmedabad bid for hosting the FIFA Under-17 World Cup matches. They were put to good use to host the National Games fixtures and team practice sessions.

More Gujarat referees are also making the cut on the national stage. If this proceeds on track, Gujarat may one day become synonymous with producing top-quality football referees just like the more evolved states of West Bengal, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram, etc, are known for producing top players.

Spearheading the Gujarat whistling revolution are a dedicated bunch of former referees and officials like the Ahmedabad-based former FIFA assistant referee Dinesh Nair, now the AIFF referee assessor for the men’s competition, a release said.

Due to the several developmental activities over the previous years, including an innovative online refresher course that was implemented when India was in lockdown mode a couple of years ago, eight referees have made the cut at the national level, inclusive of two women.

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One of them, (Dr) Williams Joy Koshy from Rajkot, handled the men’s semi-final between West Bengal and the Services last night. About 4-5 more will be appearing for their national-level exams next year.

Besides, those who have been part of Project Future India, a programme kickstarted in 2015 to upgrade promising football referees to national and international level, could also come through in the future.

“Some of them are bright prospects and if they perform well in national level competitions, they can certainly advance to the next (FIFA) level,” Nair opined about the state’s leading whistlers. He was incidentally on the line when a Messi-led Argentina played a friendly against Venezuela in Kolkata in 2011. (ANI)

This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.

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