Goa Football Development Council (GFDC), the premier grassroots football development organisation in the state organised a one day program to celebrate the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Grassroots Day 2017 for the fifth consecutive year on May 15. The event was held at SAG Athletic Stadium, Bambolim.

The event started off with two rounds of grassroots festival for the U-12 grassroots trainees of GFDC wherein 225 trainees were selected to participate in this event from across 30 centres. The two hour session saw kids go through various stations which included ball control, juggling, passing, dribbling, 4 v 4, 8 v 8 and fun games. This was followed by a 6-a-side match of boys from Special Olympics-Goa , Girls match between GFDC North and GFDC South girls academies and Veterans football match (50 plus)between teams YELLOW and RED ; all this alongside the social cause with an appeal to youth to kick drugs and alcohol and play football.

The Director of DSYA, V.M Prabhudesai highlighted that GFDC has made a rapid and commendable progress in the field of football. “I would like to give the coaches and trainees four mantras to excel in the game. The four pillars of the sport are physical fitness, skill, application of technique and mental toughness,” he stated.

Addressing the gathering Dr. Rufino Monteiro, the Chairman of GFDC stated that the one- day festival was conducted as per the new guidelines issued by the AFC. “AFC grassroots day is about bringing everyone together such as veterans, girls and special children.All this comes within the ambit of the newly expanded definition of Grassroots as announced by the AFC,” he said.

“Football is a way to abolish evils in society such as drugs and alcohol. It not only ruins one’s life but also the family. AFC and GFDC is striving to keep the youth away from all these social evils,” he added.

GFDC Member Secretary, Aleixo Da Costa congratulated the winning teams and praised his GFDC team for making the event a success. “We have included differently abled youngsters to be part of our festival as an initiative to make the football all inclusive,” he said.

ISL player from Goa, Sahil Tavora praised the work done by GFDC and told the kids to dream big. “The minimum age group tournament in Goa was U-14. An important move in Goan football has been made by GFDC by training the kids at a young age which is commendable. Kids should dream of becoming the next Neymar and Messi. The way forward for developing good players is through grassroot football at ages 7-10,”he told.

Victor Vaz, National Sports Director for Special Olympics Bharat spoke about the main role being played by the coaches at GFDC. “This is the correct age where talent can be nurtured. If the coaches are not doing a good job than GFDC is a waste. The efforts of the hard work being put in today by GFDC will be seen in the next ten years,” told Victor.

All the events were conducted by GFDC senior and grassroots coaches under the over-all supervision of Technical In Charge of GFDC, Derryl D’Souza. The concluding function was graced by Goan football legend Bernard Pereira and a current ISL player from Goa, Sahil Tavora.

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