Patronage for the game overwhelming in summer camps

Among all the summer camps in progress at Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium, football, quite surprisingly, has received overwhelming patronage with over 90 youngsters honing their skills.

Ad hoc panel

The world's most popular game was at the receiving end in Krishna district owing to the internal strife in the Andhra Pradesh Football Association (APFA) and the game's activities had come to a virtual end with no tournaments taking place for the past three years.

“The deadlock at APFA forced the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to appoint an ad hoc committee, and along with the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) a panel of officials conducted camps and selected the AP teams for the National events,” said coach Pandu.

Most of the youngsters who had enrolled in the camps were from municipal and government schools, with a hope to excel in the game and earn a job in the future.

“One heartening trend in Vijayawada is even the corporate and private schools are showing interest in promoting football in a big way. Schools like Nalanda Vidya Niketan, KCP Siddhartha Adarsh, NSM Public School and Delhi Public School are keen to involve their students in football.”

Mr. Pandu felt that incentives at the university-level would help many youngsters pursue the game with more passion. “In Kerala, the universities grant 5 to 10 marks for the players who represented university in the all-India tournaments. We should also introduce such schemes,” he said.

Primary goal

He said that his primary goal was to strengthen the district under-14 and under-17 teams. “I hope to identify at least half-dozen best players in these age categories for the future,” he said.

The coach said after teaching the trainees the nuances, a five-aside tournament would be conducted to enable them learn the on-field tactics.

“To inspire the players, I am also planning to show them the CDs of the world's top players in action. Drills and on-field movements of players like Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham and others will help players come closer to the game. I will also tell the boys to watch the World Cup football championship that kick starts in South Africa from June 11,” the coach said.