Now into their 10th match of the Germany exposure trip, India’s Under-17 World Cup team played a tough match against Bundesliga club, FC Ingolstadt Under-16s to get a tight 1-0 win. With AIFF General Secretary, Kushal Das, looking on at the Deutsches Fussball Internat (DFI) ground in Bad Aibling, Germany, the boys went toe-to-toe with their illustrious German counterparts for much of the game before Aniket played a delightful through ball for Aman to score in the 46th minute at the start of the second half. This prompted waves of attacks from the FC Ingolstadt boys, but the Indians held out to keep a clean sheet and see the game through.
Team U Dream Football 2015 Image Credit: U Dream Football
In a first-of-its-kind initiative in India, U Dream Football backed by Ronnie Screwvala, will take 15 boys aged below 14 years to leading Bundesliga club, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, for a 6-year training program on full scholarships. The boys were chosen after U Dream Football coaches scoured the length and breadth of the nation over a year during which they covered over 1,000 schools spread across 45 cities.
India’s leading goalscorer, Sunil Chhetri, recently spoke with FIFA about football in India. Some of the points he touched upon in the interview were India’s stuttering qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the support he got from his mother and aunt who competed at international level for Nepal. But one of things that stood out in his interview was his emphasis on the way forward for Indian football to improve:
“The sooner that we create an environment and system in which every boy or girl that wants to play football – and if they are good enough – can be provided with good coaching and good facilities, then half our job is done. That is my dream and aspiration for my nation. In that case we wouldn’t have the FIFA Ranking that we have now.” – Sunil Chhetri
In more positive news for grassroots football in India, Delhi Dynamos FC, Delhi’s Indian Super League (ISL) team, recently conducted a football clinic and a football carnival. The clinic and carnival were conducted to give kids a taste of their training programs and increase their support base.
The Indian Under-17 World Cup squad continued their string of impressive displays by defeating the SV Wacker Burghausen U16 team 4-0. The young Blues opened their account as early as the 3rd minute before doubling their lead in the 7th minute. The first half ended with score at 2-0 and India coach, Nicolai Adam, rang in the changes for the second half to give more playing time to the rest of the squad.
More sustained pressure in the second half from the Indians eventually yielded another goal in the 64th minute and prolific scorer, Aniket, put the game to bed with his second goal of the match in the 84th minute. The match ended with a 4-0 scoreline in favour of India.
Goalscorers: Komal, Ninthoiganba, Aniket (2)
About SV Wacker Burghausen
It is a German club that plays in the highest association football league in Bavaria. It participates in one of the five Regionalligas in German football, the fourth tier of the German football league system. It is also one of Germany’s largest sports clubs with about 6,000 members participating in nearly 24 different sports.
One of the most heartening developments in recent times has been the growing reach of football in India. While the game continues to flourish in traditional strongholds such as Goa, West Bengal and the Northeast, we have seen the re-emergence of football in Punjab, encouraging initiatives in the Delhi area, movements like the Awadh Mutineers in UP and now a grassroots football academy in Indore.
The India Under-16 team took on AKA Tirol on a wet and cold evening in Austria as part of their Germany exposure tour. Despite finding themselves two goals down within the first 25 minutes of the match, the Indians battled back to secure a 2-2 draw through goals by Komal and substitute Rahul.
This is the eighth match of the Germany tour as India’s Under-17 2017 World Cup squad, coached by Nicolai Adam, get high-quality match practice against well-drilled European teams. To be hosted in India, the AIFF is going all out to ensure that no stone is left unturned to give the Indian team the best chance to perform well at this highly prestigious tournament.
One of the challenges that coaches and parents often have to deal with is the increasing trend of children, especially in sport, being handed trophies for participation rather than actually winning. While some say that this is a good move towards appreciating the tremendous effort that kids put in despite not winning, others feel that this kind of rewarding and recognition prevents young athletes from pushing themselves further and setting higher standards.
A photo posted by James Harrison (@jhharrison92) on
At Grassroots Football India (GFI), we feel that participation trophies are alright up to the Under-10 age group, but as young footballers graduate to older age groups, prizes must feel like they have greater value and that they have been earned. Yes, players need to be given encouragement and appreciation, but trophies should be reserved only for the very best performers.