The Western India Football Association’s (WIFA) Maharashtra Grassroots initiatives have been awarded the 2014 AIFF Best Grassroots Development Programme Award by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and FICCI at the Goal 2015 India Football Summit, 3rd International Convention on Football Business.
‘Seeing Mizoram grab the Grassroots Award last year we analysed our program and took account of the changes needed to be made. We drafted a plan to improve the coaches (leaders) in Grassroots’, informed Souter Vaz, Hon. Secretary, WIFA.
WIFA conducted four Grassroots program out of which three were fully funded by the state association which enabled WIFA to spread the grassroots leaders in each and every part of the stage.
‘Our partnership with Football Federation of Australia (FFA) has helped us tremendously in our efforts to improve grassroots’, said Henry Menezes, Chief Executive Officer, WIFA.
WIFA have appointed a State Development Officer (SDO) to work and plan with the District Football Associations (DFA) and organise Grassroots Activities. Response form the DFA has been tremendous ever since.
‘We would also like to thank the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Aurangabad which gave us the opportunity to hold the Grassroots Leaders Courses for all our districts’, said Henry Menezes, Chief Executive Officer, WIFA.
‘We really took a different approach towards our grassroots, we flooded the state with the coaching courses. WIFA Grassroots is a brand in the state now. It has its own logo which the grassroots leaders, players, parents and clubs in Maharashtra relate to. We have aggressively targeted inclusion of participants coming from various backgrounds of society and cultures,’ said Ronak Dalal, Head – Marketing and Operations, WIFA.
Future Plans for WIFA Grassroots
WIFA doesn’t want settle at this, they have intensified their Grassroots Program this year onwards where every district has been given guidelines and minimum requirements to be fulfilled. According to the program every district will nominate a couple of Development officers (DO) who in-turn will report to the State development Officer (SDO). A curriculum has been developed for the grassroots leaders to follow.
Apart from the Grassroots Development training, WIFA is also going to announce their Grassroots Carnival to be held every year for the participants to showcase their talent. This will enable participants to interact with players from all across Maharashtra at various locations and in the Final rounds of the WIFA Grassroots Carnival, Grassroots team from various parts of India will be called for the Final showcase of talent at the Hallowed Cooperage Football Stadium.
Developing a sustainable model is the need of the hour for WIFA which will help increase the participation where community of parents, PT teachers take it forward. According to Henry Menezes, ‘Football has to be treated as business all over India. There are certain concerns that have to be resolved for which we are working on to protect the development centres. A registration system will soon follow along with certification of development centres.’
Highlights of WIFA Grassroots Development Program:
• Conducted 5 Grassroots Leaders Course (4)
• 158 Grassroots Leaders spread across 27 Districts
• Conducted 19 Grassroots Festivals on the AFC Grassroots Day (40 Grassroots Leaders, 3000 participants, 116 Volunteers)
• Monthly Grassroots Festivals
• WIFA Grassroots Logo
• Centralized Registration System for Grassroots
WIFA Grassroots Logo:
• Inclusion of girls is to be encouraged
• 6 different colors signifying 6 regions of Maharashtra (Konkan, Desh, Khandesh, Vidharb, Vidharba and Marathwada)
The selection guidelines:
• Number of Grassroots Leaders in the State
• Number of Grassroots Leaders course conducted
• AFC Grassroots Day celebration
• Festivals Conducted
• Grassroots Centres in the state