Football

Grassroots competitions needed to take Indian football ahead: Antonio Cachaza

File photo of Jose Antonio Cachaza.

File photo of Jose Antonio Cachaza.

The stakeholders of Indian football should figure out ways to bring out more grassroots competitions in order to strengthen the foundation of the sport in the country, feels Jose Antonio Cachaza, the managing director of the Spanish top league, La Liga, in India.

“As we find with many other sports, India faces some shortcomings in football. One of them is the lack of venues or football pitches and even more critical is the lack of grassroots competitions. For that you need hundreds of thousands of boys and girls playing football, even knowing that 99% of them won’t be graduating to the senior or professional level,” said Mr. Antonio Cachaza during an interaction with the media to announce the completion of five years of La Liga’s local presence in India.

“What we are doing is not going to bring about a turning point but it is a contribution to the development of Indian football. There are a lot of other clubs like, Barcelona and Manchester United among others who are doing the same but it is India which needs to develop its own football,” the La Liga MD for Indian operations said insisting on the growth and success of the La Liga Football Schools. The La Liga recorded a “2000% increase” in its social media audience (from 3.9 followers in 2013-14 to 149 million followers in 2021-22) while its grassroots programme has so far impacted over 20,000 youth in the country.

Talking about the growth of football In India, Mr. Antonio Cachaza expressed confidence with the way ISL is taking football to the right direction. “Indian football is growing in the right direction but it is a process that consumes time and we cannot become impatient about looking for immediate results. The fact that two of the biggest clubs of India, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are a part of the ISL increases the excitement and creates the foundation for growth,” he said.


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Printable version | May 23, 2022 5:18:53 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/grassroots-competitions-needed-to-take-indian-football-ahead-antonio-cachaza/article38302467.ece