The Milind Deora-QPR South Mumbai Junior Soccer Challenger was launched in 2009 with a view to tap the vast potential of football amongst school children and to provide an opportunity to showcase their talent with 1,632 players participating in the inaugural tournament. In the seventh edition held in 2015, the participation had grown manifold with 6,200+ children, boys and girls between 6 to 16 years of age participating with as many as 80% of them being from Municipal and Government aided schools.
Post the event last year 40 children were shortlisted for a training cum selection camp conducted by Talent Hunt scouts. At this camp Soham Narvekar (Sacred Heart School, Worli) and Armash Ansari (Sacred Heart School, Byculla) were selected to attend a 12 day training camp at the famed Queens Park Rangers Academy in September 2016 which would be a life time experience for them,.
Former South Mumbai Member of Parliament, Milind Deora, the chief patron of the above challenger stated, “These two most talented kids from South Mumbai, coming from most unassuming schools are the winners amongst 6,200 children who participated in the soccer championship. My endeavour for the last seven years is to give them a platform to exhibit their talent. Our partner, QPR, identifies and trains them to be professional players. I hope one day, some of these kids will play for India.”
Since the inaugural edition, 13 kids have trained at the QPR Academy in London with Soham and Armash becoming the 14th and 15th South Mumbai boys.
(Saran Sports Press Release)