Two talented football players and winners of India’s largest community soccer championship, the South Mumbai Junior Soccer Challenger 2013, will be heading to the Queens Park Rangers Football Club in London. The winners will be on the front lines of some amazing learning experience in a three week long coaching programme in UK. On the eve of their departure, the organizer of the initiative Shri Milind Deora, Honorable Minister of State for Communications, IT and Shipping felicitated the winners in Mumbai.
The chosen winners, Aman Santosh Gaikwad and Master Mohammed Kamran Ansari were a part of the 5th South Mumbai Junior Soccer Challenger 2013 conducted annually for kids to exhibit their football skills. Since the inception of the initiative in 2009, the championship has seen a steady increase in the number of participants, with 5120 kids participating in its last edition. Kids across municipal, government aided and private schools participate in this championship every year. The aim of the tournament is to bring together the young sporting talent from the city and provide them with a common platform to showcase their sporting abilities. The event is partnered in association with the renowned English Club, Queens Park Rangers (QPR) and Saran Sports who are the promoters of the initiative.
Commenting on the occasion Shri Milind Deora said, “The South Mumbai Soccer Championship has attempted to build a social rainbow of participants coming from varied backgrounds under one banner. In the last five years, the professionally conducted game has honed talent and seen participation from over 17000 students interested in football. This was my commitment to my constituents that I will add value to the life of their children beyond school, I pledge to take this to a bigger level in the next five years. I am sure multitude of talented football players will be discovered from this initiative.”
Sanjiv Saran Mehra, Promoter & CEO, Saran Sports stated, “This is India’s largest community football event with kids from different economic backgrounds participating in the same thereby providing an equal opportunity for all kids to showcase their skills on a common platform, football indeed being a great leveler. In fact this is a model event for the rest of India to follow”.
Winner of the Championship, Aman Santosh Gaikwad, 13 year old student from Holy Name High School, residing in Machhimar Nagar said, “It is a dream comes true for me. I always watched players of English Premier League play for their teams and wondered if I would ever get to play like this. Now through the South Mumbai Junior Soccer Challenger 2013, I have got an opportunity to learn at an international level. I am looking forward to the next three weeks of learning, fun and excitement.”
Master Mohammed Kamran Ansari 13 year old student from Antonia De Souza School, living in Madanpura said, “I am extremely thrilled at this great opportunity given by the Junior Soccer Challenger 2013. Getting to learn and train at QPR Academy is an honour for me and every soccer fanatic’s dream. I am glad that my football skills were recognized and I will certainly leverage this platform to the best of my ability to learn as much as I can during the three weeks in London. Big thanks to Mr. Deora and the organizers to let this once on a lifetime opportunity come my way”.