FC Goa hosted the first FC Goa Open Day of the season at the Rosary High School in Miramar today. The event was attended by FC Goa squad members Jofre Mateu, Reinaldo Da Cruz, Pronay Halder and Victorino Fernandes. Also present were the technical director of the grassroots program Katz Naidoo and Ashley Furtado, Chief Operations Officer, FC Goa.
The FC Goa Open Day is one of the 44 football festivals and Open Days that have been planned by the club for the coming year. The club will look to identify potential players that can be drafted into the pre-existing pool of talent that are actively coached by the club, while spreading the love of the game across the state.
The players and management spent time interacting with the school children and coaches and shared details of their experience with the club so far this season before the kids got down to playing in mini tournaments while being actively coached by the club’s grassroots coaches.
The Open Day is part of the FC Goa Outreach Programme which in turn is part of the overall initiative by the club’s Grassroots Program to deliver on its promise of developing and aiding the growth of football in Goa at the grassroots level.
The Open Day allows school children to participate in footballing activities organised by the club and is generally aimed at schools who are not a part of group of 16 schools that have an already existing tie-up of the club.
FC Goa has a robust grassroots development programme. Over 1500 children between the age groups of 6 to 14 are currently being groomed by FC Goa. The U-14 team, the Junior Gaurs are doing excellently well and are currently unbeaten.
Addressing those present Ashley Furtado, Chief Operations Officer, FC Goa who is an alumnus of the school said, “The FC Goa Outreach Programme is designed so that the Club can reach out to as many young children as possible and introduce them to the game of football in a friendly playing environment where they are encouraged to develop their inherent talent while also enjoying and loving the sport. FC Goa has a robust grassroots programme which is being managed under the watchful eye of Mr. Naidoo assisted by Coach Gavin Araujo. Our U-14 team the Junior Gaurs are doing excellently well.”
Katz Naidoo, the program’s Technical Director added, “The FC Goa grassroots programme aims to create a safe environment for Goa’s young footballers to enjoy the game and hone their skills. There are various stages that a young player needs to progress through to emerge as a strong skilled football player. We at FC Goa will take young players through that process and guide them along the way. We are also focusing on consistently training coaches on the methods and techniques involved in coaching”.
Talking about the need to develop grassroots, FC Goa player Jofre said: „Seeing the enthusiasm on display here, its obvious that football is ready to take off in this part of the world. Its important for India and Goa as a state, that they invest in the grassroots and develop the game so they can reach new heights. And the club (FC Goa) has a big part to play in this because they have already captured the people’s imagination here. So there is no better an opportunity to take the grassroots development forward and I strongly believe that FC Goa’s Grassroots Program will do just that. Seeds are ready to be sown, and I think the right people are in place to nurture them.“
The FC Goa’s Grassroots development programme which commenced last year saw FC Goa reaching out to over 20,000 children and actively mentoring and coaching over 1500 students from 16 schools in the sport of football.