Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday stated the federal government is using on “mainstay” soccer to make India a sporting powerhouse and introduced the formation of 5 zonal committees to hunt talent throughout the nation.
Rijiju stated the talent hunt initiative, to be funded by the Sports Authority of India below the Khelo India Programme in partnership with the All India Football Federation, would be the “most aggressive exercise” ever carried out. The committees might be fashioned in the subsequent few months.
“We will form five talent scouting committees in the next few months, one for each zone — north, south, east, west and northeast — under Khelo India Programme of SAI in partnership with AIFF,” Rijiju stated throughout a digital programme organised by Football Delhi to mark the 36th birthday of India captain Sunil Chhetri.
“We cannot go with the usual approach, we have to go deeper in a professional way. It will be the most aggressive exercise we had ever done. We have to find out talented children below 12 years from every nook and corner of the country whether it is northeast, the tribal areas of central India, coastal areas, south or north,” he added.
He stated the talent hunt train was conceptualised with an goal for India to find a way to qualify for the World Cup and the Olympics in the subsequent 10-15 years.
“We have to start now with children below 12 if we want to qualify for Olympics and World Cup in 10-15 years. I am confident that we can do this. In the government’s plan to make India a sporting powerhouse, football will have to be the mainstay. It cannot be left behind, it’s the world’s most popular game.
“We will choose individuals who know soccer like the previous gamers. Of course, the AIFF will information us. Moreover, this authorities effort might be over and above these no matter effort being already carried out and is doing by the AIFF.”
Rijiju said the ministry was also thinking about giving financial assistance to state governments and the federation to organise local leagues to give the platform for talent scouting at the grassroot — panchayat and municipality — level.
AIFF president Praful Patel, who also took part in the virtual programme, said a talent scouting programme which began before India hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017, is still continuing but welcomed the minister’s plan for a “complete” scheme.
“A extra aggressive and complete programme proper to the final village of the nation with SAI’s monetary assist is welcome. I’m very glad to hear this from the minister,” he said.
Patel also made a suggestion to Rijiju to make at least one SAI Centre in each zone a dominant football facility.
“You might not make all SAI centres soccer amenities however one in every zone could be primarily soccer facility. You can produce other sports activities additionally however that facility ought to have all facets that soccer wants like coaching infrastructure, psychological conditioning and so on.”
Chhetri, on his part, described his birthday as the best one with the minister making a far-reaching announcement which, he said, may lead to a “monumental” change in Indian football.
“Talent identification and proper teaching is probably the most essential factor. If we are able to establish all of the proficient youngsters of 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years of age and provides them proper teaching, we’ll go miles and the change might be monumental,” he said.
“We haven’t tapped your entire talent pool in this nation. Since we’ve not searched the entire of the nation, the concept India is but to arrive is improper.”
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary Dato’ Windsor John, however, cautioned against sending wrong people as scouts in the talent hunt programme.
“Don’t ship improper gamers to scout younger talent. Involve good coaches, good folks. The scouts could have to have soccer skill-sets, the instincts. You shouldn’t be choosing improper youngsters and discover that out after a couple of years. The most important factor is you shouldn’t choose improper gamers.”