Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: A delegation of the Tamil Football Association, led by its President C.R. Visswanathan, is just back after fruitful discussions with the Asian Football Confederation officials in connection with the implementation of the Vision Tamil Nadu programme.

The programme, meant to improve football standards in the State right from the grassroots level, made a brief start earlier this year when an AFC team visited the State for preliminary assessment.

“The meeting in Kuala Lumpur, a three-day workshop in fact, at the invitation of the AFC was to discuss the inputs provided by TFA and the findings of the AFC team. I am happy to say that the AFC was impressed with the set up of the State Association and the way it has been functioning, with leagues and the various tournaments that are being held regularly,” said Mr. Visswanathan about the workshop.

The delegation had eight members apart from six observers from various districts. Meetings with Mohd. Bin Hammam, the AFC President, Dato Paul Mony Samuel, AFC General Secretary, and the AFC vision director Brenden Menton formed the highlights of the visit.

Mr. Visswanathan said that the AFC wanted more broad-basing at the grassroots level and underlined the need for harnessing school-level talent. The need for appointing executive officers was another aspect touched upon.

The AFC, he said, had promised financial help in all the ventures but wanted the Government also to join in this concerted effort to uplift football. The provision of playgrounds at various places is one area that the Government could play a lead role, he said.

To begin with, the TFA president said that it was decided to choose Chennai and Dindigul for the grassroots programme. The idea was to identify schools and playgrounds, appoint executive officers and coaches. Mr. Visswanathan also confirmed AIFF’s decision to allot the home match in the pre-World Cup fixture against Lebanon to TFA and the match will be held at the Nehru stadium under floodlights on October 28.

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