Football Coach Conclave organized by Assam Football Association on May 25

On World Football Day, the Assam government along with the Assam Football Association, discussed a strategic roadmap to strengthen the grassroots football infrastructure in the state.

Speaking at an event in Guwahati on May 25, a top Assam government bureaucrat said that there needs to be a definitive career plan for nurturing young talent rather than selecting players for one-of tournaments.

“It is important to chalk out a career path around sports. We form a team targeting a particular tournament but we do not nurture that team after the tournament is over. They do not play throughout the year and that is hampering the progress of football in the state,” said Kausar J Hilaly, secretary, sports and youth welfare, government of Assam.

The comprehensive plan highlighted by the official includes initiatives to develop and improve training facilities, train the coaches, and establish youth academies in various districts. The aim is to nurture young talent from an early age and provide them with the resources and support needed to excel in the sport.

Hilaly added that there needs to be a uniform approach across the state to identify talent and offer them residential training.

He gave the example of the Khel Maharan activity in the state, wherein out of 3 lakh participants, 612 were selected for various sports, and they will be further nurtured to become elite athletes. This nurturing process will involve intensive training, access to better facilities, and personalized coaching to help them compete at higher levels, including national and international events.

NorthEast United FC assistant coach Nausad Moosa stressed on training of coaches and giving more game time to the footballers. “For the development of any sport, it is important to have quality coaches at the grassroots. Also, the kids should get the opportunity to play one match every week.  It is very important to give them more game time so that they improve,” the NEUFC coach said.

Football Coach Conclave organized by Assam Football Association on May 25
Football Coach Conclave organized by Assam Football Association on May 25

Moosa also added that having more grounds, better grassroot programmes, and an integration with school curriculum is important to attract talent.

Speaking on the occasion, professional footballer Vinit Rai said that having quality residential academies will help the budding footballers to manage their game along with regular studies. “To catch young talent, it is important to give good education apart from good football coaching. Also, we need to have better grounds. Parents will be interested to send their kids for football training if we can integrate it with the school curriculum,” Rai said.

Footballer Halicharan Narzary also echoed similar sentiments and pointed out that the present facilities in Assam are not ideal. “There are players, but they do not get good facilities. They need good coaches from a young age so that their game grows. We need to start from the under-7 level itself to improve the overall situation,” Narzary said.

The event was organized by Assam Football Association wherein more than 50 coaches from across the state participated. The day-long interactive session delved on how coaching could be made better at the grassroots besides scouting and nurturing talent who can represent the state and the country.

Assam Football Association honorary secretary Sangrang Brahma thanked the participants for their suggestions and reiterated AFA’s commitment for the development of football in the state.

AFC A License coach Subham Rabha also made a presentation on development pathways for Assam football and interacted with the coaches.

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About Jayanta Deka

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Jayanta Deka is a Guwahati-based journalist with over a decade of experience in journalism. Tracking new media, technology, startups, human interest stories and politics interest him. Currently serving as the Editor at The News Mill, he can be reached through [email protected] or [email protected]