Indian Super League (ISL) side FC Goa launched its Youth Football Programme today at a well-attended Grassroots Football Festival at the SAG complex at Bambolim in Goa. The club also took this occasion to introduce its Grassroots Coach, Gavin Araujo, an AFC A license Coach. Gavin has been an excellent footballer and has captained Goa at the U-16, U-19 and U-21 age groups with a long playing stint at Vasco SC.
Arjuna Awardees and FC Goa’s well wishers Brahmanand Sancoalkar and Bruno Coutinho also graced the Festival.
FC Goa stars Romeo Fernandes and Mandar Rao Desai were also present and were mobbed by the children for Autographs and photographs.
The Festival saw 800 budding children participate from 16 schools spread all across Goa. The select age group were from 6 years to 12 years. FC Goa’s initiative will strengthen the Football Programme of these 16 Schools while nurturing the budding talents of Goa.
The objective of this festival is to introduce children to the game of football in a friendly playing environment, where they are encouraged to experience football and begin loving the sport while developing their inherent talent. The festival has been planned not to be competitive in nature for the children, with no winners being announced. The children were taken through various fun drills and games so that they get comfortable with the ball at their feet.
The children demonstated their skills under the watchful eyes of Gavin and four of his assistant coaches and eight Grassroots coaches, besides 16 PE teachers from the respective schools who also assisted in this induction programme.
FC Goa youth programme coaches organized a well laid out ground plan and SAG supported the event by providing excellent facilities for participants and viewers alike.
The FC Goa Youth Programme will be conducted twice a week for each participant under expert guidance and in course of time, a select group of shortlisted trainees will be able to choose football as a rewarding professional carreer.
Shrinivas Dempo, Chairman and Managing Director of Dempo Group of Companies, said “Football is the sport of Goa and supporting it is second nature to all of us. This grassroots initiative has been born with the intent to give birth to rising stars in Goa and we are certain that we will; with the combination of the interest in the sport, incredible talent and an amazing team we have put in place to harness it.”
Dattaraj V. Salgaocar, Managing Director of V M Salgaocar and Company, added, “Developing the game of football is paramount to the continued success of FC Goa and we are committed to seeing it through. We have been working on extensive plans on setting up a World Class Youth Development programme; with the aim to having a majority of our players in the club coming through our Youth System. These are exciting times for FC Goa and its bright future. Forca Goa!”