Reliance Foundation, the CSR arm of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), announced the start of the 2023-24 season of the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) Naupang League in association with Mizoram Football Association.
The eight-month-long football league a collaboration between both partners is aimed at developing grassroots football in the region. The league will start on September 2 across four districts of Mizoram: Aizawl, Champhai, Kolasib, and Lunglei, after a successful inaugural season.
“Mizoram has time and again proved to be a goldmine of footballing talent with some of India’s biggest stars coming from there, given that the sport is embedded in its rich culture. Carrying forward the success of the first season, we hope that Naupang League continues to act as a catalyst for the state’s footballing fervor to help produce and nurture local talent with resources like extra game time and training, that will enable young children, who could be as young as 5 years old, to take up the sport competitively. We hope to see many young footballers from Mizoram in the future do wonders in the national and international arena,” an unnamed spokesperson of Reliance Foundation was quoted as saying in a press release.
Mizoram Football Association spokesperson commented: “The MFA is proud to continue its partnership with Reliance Foundation for the second season of the Naupang league. The first season was very emotional and encouraging for us, especially to see the participation and interest. We remain committed towards our vision to provide competitive game time to children at a very young age, incorporating physical activity in a structured manner and nurturing the next generation of footballers from Mizoram. This league will be a game changer for Indian football in the long run.”
Shylo Malsawmtluanga (Mama), mentor and coach, Naupang League, commented: “It’s a privilege to be part of RFYC Naupang League Season 2. This season promises to be even more exciting. Parents have already witnessed the positive impact of the Naupang League on their children. This year, parents are enthusiastic about dedicating more time to support their children in the Naupang League.”
“It’s not just the kids and parents; the coaches and everyone involved in Season 2 are equally thrilled as it’s bigger this time. I’m equally excited to meet all the young players, parents, and collaborate for the betterment of our community and Indian football,” the mentor added.
The league will be divided two models:
- Naupang League (Aizawl and Champai) operated by RFYC will cater to age groups of U6, U8, U10, U12, and U14.
- District League (Kolasib and Lunglei) will cater to age groups of U8, U10, U12, and U14 by the Mizoram Football Association and District Football Associations, enabled by RFYC
While multi-tier, age-group engagements through the year will meaningfully captivate players, league highlights will include:
The season entails more game time as more than 100 additional matches which will be played in the District League (Kolasib and Lunglei) – three additional matches for each age group will be played, compared to last year at each location.
In the Naupang League (Aizawl and Champai) the engagement of the U-6 participants will increase with more activities planned during the match days other than organized matches. In addition, emerging talent sessions will be introduced – which are dedicated sessions for children who show good potential and talent.
The additional perks this season include: More training sessions in Naupang League (Aizawl and Champhai), Training Camps in District League (Kolasib and Lunglei).
To boost employment in the state, D License Courses, referee development programme and increase manpower with 80+ on-ground staff will be encouraged.
Last season of Naupang League
In its inaugural season, Naupang League kicked off in November 2022, which concluded at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl with the Inter district finals in June 2023 played between Aizwal and Champai. Aizawl A (MFA Grassroots A) won in the U11 category and Champai B (Best of the Rest) won the title at the U13 category.
The 2022-2023 season ran over eight months across the four districts of Aizawl, Champhai, Lunglei and Kolasib saw a participation of approximately 180 teams with 2300+ boys and girls under the age group of U7, U9, U11 and U13.
Apart from ensuring maximum game time for the kids, Reliance Foundation Young Champs through programmes like coach education and development enabled 17 coaches with E -License.
RFYC through its scouts selected around 40 children for a week-long experiential trip to the RFYC academy in Mumbai.