Dempo Sports Club is an institution that stands for passion, strength and will. They are passionate about constantly trying to change the definition of football in India, and lived up to their beliefs when they conducted an outreach program with the special children of Sanjay School in Mapusa. The Duler Stadium hosted Dempo’s youth development team, as well as 100 boys and girls of the school in October this year. The club’s Technical Director, Katz Naidoo is of the firm belief that football is for everybody, and is thrilled that the club’s outreach initiative gives every child an opportunity to play the sport.
“Every child must be given an opportunity to participate, after all football is not only for the gifted or talented learners.” – Katz Naidoo, Technical Director, Dempo SC
The school students, aged between 8 and 15, were shown the basics of the game before being given a chance to play small-sided football matches and activity grids in a safe and secure environment. It was the first time the children were given a chance to play on artificial turf, and the school’s physical education head, Samantha, expressed her gratitude to the club for being the only ones so far to give the children such an amazing opportunity to enjoy themselves while playing football. The club coaches were all in attendance, making sure that safety was of the highest priority, as the children enjoyed a day out on the pitch. The entire program was very well coordinated, and went off without a hitch.
“This is our first step towards providing as many sporting opportunities to our children [as possible]. I’m happy and proud that our youth development team took the Dempo thinking to the special children.” – Wilfred D’Souza, General Manager, Dempo SC
More regular, year-round activities like this for grassroots football, especially by cash-rich Indian Super League clubs, will help the sport touch more lives, get more children playing and create a healthier ecosystem for the game to thrive. At a grassroots level, the focus is always on having kids enjoy themselves and develop a love for the sport so that they can go on to become players, referees, coaches, sports journalists and, most importantly, fans.
Congratulations to Dempo Sports Club for taking the initiative in this regard. We hope they make it a regular feature across Goa and hope to see more clubs & academies across the country launch similar outreach programs.