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Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran: Football can heal the wounds

India v Nepal - International Football
India v Nepal - International Football

Photo Courtesy: AIFF Media

It was there and the very next moment it had fallen. It shook again and the debris piled up. Tremors followed one after another; tragedy followed, the trauma continued.

As the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal fights back amidst the debris to rebuild the beautiful world it once used to be, Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, FIFA Regional Development Officer for South and Central Asia, recently back from a tour to Nepal stresses on Football’s Healing power to recreate the lush.

I need to laud All India Football Federation for being the first Nation to bring football back into the veins of the Nepalese people,” he tells AIFF Media, referring to AIFF’s invitation to Nepal to play a FIFA Friendly Match.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) have been the first to offer its hand of support to the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) and India will host Nepal in an International Friendly on August 31 at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune.

“It’s a wonderful gesture. Such gestures make India special. The warmth to embrace people and stand by them has been the hallmark of India’s history. AIFF needs to be lauded for trying to bring back football in the veins of Nepal,” Dr. Prabhakaran says in one breath.

All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das states about football being able to “provide solace.”

“AIFF have always been a staunch supporter of football in Nepal. They are our neighbours. We felt the Beautiful Game will be able to provide some solace to the Kingdom,” he stated.

“I met all the stakeholders, the Government Officials, the National Olympic Committee, people from the UN, NGOs, etc,” Dr. Prabhakaran mentions to AIFF Media. “Over 5 lakh houses and 7,000 schools have been damaged. Nepal would require US$ 7 billion (as per Government estimate) for rehabilitation and reconstruction such is the level of destruction. Many donors have already confirmed their contribution,” he informs and pauses.

There’s silence in the room.

Caressing the official 2014 FIFA World Cup match ball, he adds: “There is only one Football Stadium in the country and it’s partially damaged. Most of the football fields still shelter the affected.”

“FIFA stands for Football Development and would like to help them through football through various projects to be finalized soon.”

Football can heal the wounds through soft projects whereby children in masses can be engaged in programmes where they can be involved for a positive and constructive purpose, all through the ‘Beautiful Game.’”

“The healing power of football can help them forget their worries.”

(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)