THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Brazil legend Rivaldo to attend 57th Subroto Cup 2016 Final

Subroto Cup International Football Tournament

Keeping its endeavour intact and throwing open new avenues, the 57th edition of the Subroto Cup International Football Tournament, beginning September 14, will see participation of 98 teams, including 10 from abroad other than the two foreign club teams for the first time.

Former Brazil and FC Barcelona superstar Rivaldo, currenty president of Mogi Mirim Esporte Clube in Brazil, will cheer for the Subroto Boys on October 22 during the Grand Finale at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi.

He played mainly as an attacking midfielder but also as a second striker. From 1993 to 2003, Rivaldo played 74 matches and scored 35 goals for Brazil and is the seventh highest goal scorer. Although primarily left footed, he was capable of playing on either flank, and was on occasion deployed as a wide midfielder or as a winger. One of the most skillful and creative players of his generation, Rivaldo was renowned for his bending free kicks, overhead kicks, technique, and ability to both score and create goals.

The month-long fiesta which provides opportunities in three categories — Sub-Junior Boys (Under-14), Junior Girls (Under-17) and Junior Boys (Under-17) — makes the tournament a solitary such event in the country and unique in more ways than one.

The concept of grassroots football, which the Subroto Mukherjee Sports and Education Society (SMSES), floated over five decades ago, has started yielding desired results. An acclaimed ‘game changer’, the Society, over the years, has been consistently making deep-rooted efforts and ring in improvements in terms of Activation & Promotional Outreach Programme at Grassroots Level.

The Subroto Mukherjee Education and Sports Society, which was honoured with the President’s award (Khel Protsahan Puraskar) for Development of Sports’ and creating an atmosphere to inculcate sporting culture right at the grassroots, has other initiatives planned to create awareness. Some of those plans include Rahagiri, Khelo Football clinics and Football Ustavas to enlighten youngsters and the general public the importance of sports and the Subroto Cup’s objectives.

This vision and a unique initiative of Grassroot Football has enrolled a bigger responsibility and first time in the history of Subroto Cup we feel honoured to announce our first ever Presenting sponsor – Star Sports who joins us for recognizing and nurture the talent at grassroots level where as the tournament this year is powered by LIC and partnered by Powergrid Corporation of India.

The information shared by representative of Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim received the loudest applaud from the dignitaries present during the press conference that the Government has decided to give special sports quota for the boys playing in Subroto Cup International Football Tournament in the respective states. It was a matter of great pride for the organizing committee to felicitate Mr. M S Rawat one of the players from the first Subroto Cup joint winners team.

The tournament, going beyond the realm of expectations, helps players get instant recognition apart from sizeable scholarships to those excelling students to pursue their dreams. The best proof of it came about recently when the ‘Subroto Boys’ were sent to Sweden — Delhi Dynamos trained them — to compete in the Gothia Cup at Gothenburg a couple of months ago. All these boys, marked as the best, were picked from among teams that participated last year.

“Our effort to send a team selected from last year’s scholarship venture has provided the necessary foreign exposure to the ‘Subroto Boys’ team. They have tasted what club football or, for that matter, competing abroad is. We are looking at more such opportunities,” said Air Commodore PK Mohey, VSM, Air Officer Commanding, AF Stn New Delhi and Chairman Organising Committee.

This year, the first of its kind search for top talent in association with PMO’s #KheloFootball mandate & an initiative of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Delhi Dynamos our Football Development Partner is in full tune via 22 Football clinics in different Schools in the Delhi NCR region.

These are the kind of incentives that the Subroto Mukherjee Education Sports Society offers through its marquee experience of hosting the Subroto Cup Tournament year after year, making it a great hit among schools of the country as well as those boys who aspire to be India’s future players. This edition once again promises a fiercely competitive junior level football spectacle that has now become hallmark of the tournament. Its unmatched popularity and the promise it holds for future of the participants gives Indian football a new hope and a sense of belief.

Of the 10 foreign teams, three each from Afghanistan and Bangladesh, two from Sri Lanka and one each from Malaysia and Indonesia have confirmed participation. Two new entrants to the Subroto Cup are club teams from Australia (Central Coast Mariners) and winners of Gothia Cup, Las Vegas Soccer Academy from the US.

Of course, the foreign club teams will have good company in Indian counterparts — Mohun Bagan AC, DSK Shivajians LIFA, Pune FC, Shillong Lajong FC and Tata Football Academy — to provide a nice mixture of club and state teams to compete against and share experience from each other’s approach to game plans.

As for the participants, particularly in the Junior Boys section, the tournament provides the last opportunity to get noticed by national selectors who will be picking the India squad for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, slated for next year in India. That will be a bigger incentive in terms of name, fame and money and the boys that get selected can look forward to a firm career in football.

But before that the players will have to impress the selection committee that consists of eminent footballers, representatives from AIFF, the Sports Authority of India and the Subroto Committee. Twenty-five outstanding players in each category will be awarded one-time scholarships.

As has been the practice, players will be called to test medically to verify the correct age of the participants by a panel of doctors with proper notification. All teams will be provided accommodation at hotels with transport to the venue and back. All matches will be supervised by qualified FIFA, national and Class-I referees drafted in from the Army, Navy and the Air Force.

The tournament opens at the Dr. Ambedkar Stadium on September 14 with a grand ceremony where Air Marshal MK Malik AVSM VSM, Air Officer-In-Charge Administration and Vice-Chairman SMSES, will be the chief guest. The Sub-Junior Boys tournament, which precedes Junior Girls and Junior Boys championships, will see the final being played on September 29 at the same venue.

But with a crowded schedule of matches, the other two venues in use will be NWC Football Ground, Race Course and Modern School, Barakhamba Road. However, main knockout matches including semi-finals and finals in all sections will be held at the Ambedkar Stadium. The final of the Junior Girls is slated for October 10 while the Junior Boys final will be held on October 22.

(Subroto Mukherjee Sports and Education Society Press Release)