Anantapur Sports Academy celebrate AFC Grassroots Football Day

ASA - AFC Grassroots Day
Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) celebrated the AFC Grassroots Day
Author of the Post: Maxon Sequeira

The Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) constantly strives for the improvement of grassroots level sports. They primarily concentrate on the inclusion of young children in all of its sports programs. Its vision is to encourage the youth from rural areas to inculcate in themselves a culture of sports, with young children being at the helm of this vision.

ASA looked forward to the Asian Football Confederation Grassroots Football Day (AFC-GFD) 2016 as a great occasion to encourage young children to participate in sport through football. It has organised grassroots football events with young children before as well. Their last initiative to reach out to young children was during their U13 Football Academy selection trials when they had Indian Super League, FC Goa midfielder Jofre Mateu to help them in their selection process.

Anantapur celebrated AFC Grassroots Day
A total of 207 children attended the program organized by ASA
ASA was always conscious that All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) had plans to develop grassroots level football in India by reaching out to much younger children. Hence it decided to organise the AFC-GFD 2016. It looked to reach out to at least 200 children between the ages of 6-12 years. With this it would not only achieve its aim to involve younger children in sport, but also promote the growth of Indian football, and subsequently also the popularity of the sport.

 ASA’s 25 mandal (village-level) football clubs were invited to send children between the ages of six and twelve to be involved in the AFC-GFD, which was held at the Anantapur Sports Village (ASV). The AFC-GFD saw a total of 207 children come over for the program, and for the activities, they divided into ten groups. A total of 27 coaches ran the show during the AFC-GFD. Each group had at least one female and one male coach. “Most of these children have never seen a football in their life, let alone playing with it. The idea is to introduce these children to football in a fun manner. Only when they like the game will they come forward to play it,” said ASA Football Academy Assistant Head Coach, P. Vijayabhaskar.

The program commenced at the ASV on the afternoon of the 14th of May 2016, when each child was registered for the AFC-GFD 2016, as per schedule. The children were encouraged to play several fun games during two sessions of main program on the 15th of May. The focus was to let every single child spend the most possible time with a football. Small sided games on ten pitches around the size of a futsal ground were planned at the ASV football and cricket grounds for each group. The children were involved in games like caterpillar, monkey in the middle, tennis with a football, cricket with a football, etc.

The ASA looked at the AFC-GFD program as an opportunity to be an initiative which went beyond just football. For this it planned a series of ice breakers and fun activities to engage the children after the children arrived at the ASV on the 14th. They also planned similar activities after the main program activities on the 15th evening as well.

“We closely followed the AIFF and AFC guidelines and came up with our own drills to subconsciously teach the children the basics of football, while showing them the physical and psychological benefits of the game. We kept in mind that if done well, these children would come back wanting more, eventually growing our grassroots structure while adding to the popularity of the sport, which is what the AIFF and AFC have been looking to achieve through this nationwide program,” said Shaikh Moulali, a senior ASA football academy player and AFC-GFD mentoring coach.
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About Debraj Banerjee

Hi, I am Debraj Banerjee from Adra, West Bengal. A keen follower of Indian football and always an optimist that the game will get the recognition it truely deserves. What we ask from you is your support and one day the dream might turn true. Fingers crossed for Indian football. Cheers!

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