The Thiruvananthapuram Latin Archdiocese is planning to promote football in a big way in the coastal areas.

The diocese has drawn up plans to start an international football academy soon and as the first step it has identified 50 trainees for the academy.

The trainees were selected from the Ladder Cup (under-13) football tournament which was held at St. Antony’s ground, Valliyathura last week.

The two-week tournament attracted teams from 26 parishes which come under the diocese.

The diocese had taken initiative to provide systematic football coaching to children below 10 years of age in the all the parishes under it from 2011 onwards.

“We wanted to our children to become good citizens and stay away from vices. We thought sports was the best medium to inculcate disciple and since football was the most popular game in the coastal region we decided to promote it in a big way,’’ said Fr. Jose Mathew sports organiser, Thiruvananthapuram Latin Archdiocese.

All the parishes which came under the diocese were given instructions to start football coaching.

The diocese supplied football and kits while the parish took care of the dietary expenses and the salary of the coaches. Normally coaching was given thrice a week and light refreshments were given to children after training.

“The response was overwhelming. We were able to implement the scheme in 33 parishes and 26 parishes fielded teams in the Ladder cup which was quite encouraging,’’ said Fr.Jose Mathew.

The 50 children, who were selected for the academy, for the time being, will continue to receive training at the respective parishes till the academy is set up.

These children will be given specialised coaching during Onam, Christmas and summer vacations.

“We plan to start the academy at the earliest. We have identified some institutions for setting up the hostel facility. Some clubs have also evinced interest in running the academy. We will be finalising it soon. At the academy we will be taking a holistic approach for development of the child. Regarding coaching we will be brining in experts from Italy and other countries and children will be provided opportunity to train in foreign countries,” Fr. Jose Mathew said.

Following the success of football, the diocese is planning to promote more games like kabaddi and volleyball which are popular in the coastal region.

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