Sports minister Kiren Rijiju gave Sunil Chhetri the “perfect birthday gift” on Monday when he said the government was keen to form zonal level scouting committees under the Sports Authority of India to identify grassroots talent. (More Football News)
Speaking on the occasion of Football Delhi’s E-Summit plenary session, Rijiju said the committees will work under the Khelo India scheme and aim to identify under-12 players from across the country.
The SAI plan will be implemented in association with the All India Football Federation and Golden (baby) Leagues will be played across India, promised the minister.
“To improve football infrastructure in Delhi I will have a meeting with the Lieutenant General and chief minister of Delhi,” said Rijiju, adding, “Football culture is necessary to make India a world superpower.”
It was Sunil Chhetri’s 36th birthday on Monday. This day is also celebrated as Delhi Football Day. Chhetri, a Delhi boy, cut in his teeth in local clubs before making the leap to play for Mohun Bagan in the famous Kolkata league.
Chhetri welcomed the sports minister’s initiative to identify talent across India.
“If every talent is identified and nurtured well then half of the problem of Indian football is solved. It is the best birthday gift I could ask for,” said Chhetri.
The secretary general of the Asian Football Confederation Dato Windsor John said that the AIFF must work in tandem with the state association to facilitate all-round development.
This has been a major drawback in the working of the national body so far.
Windsor John said, “It was Delhi where Indian football first tasted its major success at the inaugural Asian Games in 1951. Delhi has the potential to grow as a football city like any other global football city.”
India had beaten Iran 1-0 to win the Asian Games gold.
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