India’s largest community football tournament the QPR-South Mumbai Junior Soccer Challenger 2016 entered its 8th year. A Milind Deora Initiative, it is in association with renowned English Club Queens Park Rangers (QPR). The Hon Minister for Railways Shri Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the championship at the Western Railway grounds Lower Parel. The event is conceived and managed by Saran Sports.
The Championship would also serve as a talent hunt for 50 talented youngsters, who will be shortlisted for a coaching clinic after a couple of months from which two children will be selected to train at the QPR Youth Academy, London for a two week program in 2017.
This year, the tournament will witness approximately 6400 children from 150 plus schools representing 800 teams and playing close to 1100 matches. The boys‘ and girls‘ teams are in the under 8, under-10, under-12, under-14 and under-16 categories. The Championship is open to all South Mumbai schools including Government aided and Municipal schools which comprise over 80% of the participants. The tournament will provide an equal and fair opportunity to kids from different backgrounds to showcase their talent and skills on a common platform.
Talking about the championship, Mr. Milind Deora (Ex Member of Parliament & Ex Union Minister) said: „Football is a growing passion amongst today’s youth. By organizing such championships I hope to provide a platform for the youth to exhibit their football skills. I hope to provide football enthusiasts with the necessary infrastructure and help the coaches identify talent. I am sure that with a cohesive effort, we will be able to popularize and develop the sport in India.“
Inaugurating the event Shri Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of Railways, Government of India said, „I am happy to inaugurate the 8th South Mumbai Junior Soccer Championship which is the initiative of Milind Deora ji. The championship gives a great platform for students and adds immense value to their life and games. The efforts and vision of Milind Deora ji in organising this championship are commendable. I am certain that one day through this talent hunt, India will find one of its greatest players of football. This championship defeats all social and economic prejudice and is a remarkable step in strengthening values of equality .Indian Railways is committed to nurture and encourage sportspersons. We lend our support to the junior champions and are committed to help them to make a career in football and serve India“.
QPR’s head of community program, Andy Evans said: „We have been associated with the South Mumbai Junior Soccer championship since its inception in 2009. The participants have been increasing and we have witnessed some astounding talent. Even though this championship aims at bringing only the South Mumbai community together, I am sure we would find some serious talent here who might play for India or even in the English Leagues.“
A.K. Agarwala, Director, Aditya Birla Group said, „Talent without hard work is like a house without roof. Aspire and set your goals high with full confidence and work to achieve them. Have confidence in yourself and absolute NO to negativity. It doesn’t matter if you fail first – get up and get going forcefully and sure you are a winner. Do not forget, failures are pillars of success. With positive attitude one is sure of results. So, get up, tighten your shoes and KICK ON“.
Deepak Arora, CEO, Essar Foundation stated, „With several athletes making a mark at national and international platforms, Essar’s consistent endeavours to identify, nurture and boost young sports talent has been a highly rewarding experience. We are delighted to be supporting the South Mumbai Junior Soccer Challenge this year, and expect to bring a promising and high energy sporting experience for the young players“.
The Presenting Sponsors of the Challenger are Queens Park Rangers Football Club (QPR) and the Sponsors are the Aditya Birla Group and Essar. The Co-Sponsors are Axis Bank and Tiago. The partners are Britannia, Edelweiss Life Tokio, Tang and Nike.
Event Details at a glance
- 8th South Mumbai Junior Soccer Challenger 2016 is India’s Largest Community Football Event
- For Boys & Girls (between 6 to 16 years)
- In numbers – 154 Schools, 800 teams, 1062 matches, 6400 players
- 81% of Municipal & Government aided schools, 28% – participation from Girls
- Dates: 8th, 9th, 22nd, 23rd October, 26th, 27th November and FINALS – 3rd December 2016
- Timings: 9am to 5pm
- Venue- Western Railway Sports Ground, Tulsi Pipe Road
- The event shall be of a 5-a-Side competition
- Multiple pitches shall be set up at the venue
- NO ENTRANCE FEE IS CHARGED TO ANY PARTICIPANT
- All participants to receive:
- Jerseys and Shorts
- Refreshments on all match days
- Children from Municipal Schools to receive:
- Football Studs
- Football Stockings
- Jerseys & Shorts
- Travelling Allowance on all match days
- Refreshments on all match days
- Mineral Water and Tang counters available for all through the day on all match days