The multinational natural resources conglomerate, Vedanta today announced a strategic roadmap to actively foster skill development in sports across the country. The organization through its Sesa Football Academy (SFA) has contributed immensely to the development of football players in Goa. SFA has created the conditions for discovering, creating and building talent for football and has been an alma mater in a class of its own. The group now aims to build on the legacy of the academy and develop budding players in football from across the nation.
The academy already runs for many years on a residential basis while imparting systematic and scientific training and lays emphasis to develop the potential and grooms the youngsters to become full-fledged professional players. SFA takes care of the formal education of the trainees during the four year training period. The academy presently has an intake capacity of 36 boys being trained at its Sankhali premises.
The Group now further aims at beefing up the infrastructure facilities at its Sirsaim Academy and match it to global standards to make it accessible for the country with a global reach. The skill development model that the company has adopted is to scout young talent and hone them in the sport and equip them with certain sports related skills that could help carve professionalism. 22 boys in the age group of 14 to 17 years have been selected from Rajasthan, Punjab, Kerala, Manipur, Sikkim, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Zambia (where the Group has its operations).
The selection panel consisted of experts such as Bramhanand Sankhwalkar (Ex-India goalkeeper/captain & Arjuna Awardee), Bruno Coutinho (Ex-India player & Arjuna Awardee), Francis D’Souza (Ex-India & renowned coach), Armando Colaco (5 times National Football League/I-League winning coach/Ex-India Coach), and Denzil Franco (a product of Sesa Football Academy & Alumni/Ex-India player).
The advisory panel of the SFA constitutes celebrity football player Padmashri Baichung Bhutia apart from the management team of Vedanta.
Sesa Football Academy president Annanya Agarwal said, “Sports is the medium that can inspire and engage youth in an indescribable way. It is a language that can help skill latent talent which has not been realized and that is what we aim to do through this initiative. Sesa Community Development Foundation (SCDF) has immensely contributed through various CSR initiatives to the local communities. One of our key objectives therefore has been around nurturing football talent through the SFA and give to the nation our heroes in sport. I believe we have displayed this commitment by bringing on the best management team in the country, including Sukhvinder Singh and Bhaichung Bhutia. Women’s football is a large part of this initiative as there is not enough infrastructure for women in football and SFA will strive to bridge this gap.”
Speaking on the occasion, Sukhvinder Singh, newly appointed CEO of the Vedanta Football Project said, “Sesa Football Academy has made immense contribution to football in Goa and now we at Vedanta are taking the efforts to another level. The aim is to further develop the academy set up and intensify our efforts on youth development specifically for Goa at Sankhali and the nation at the Sirsaim academy. We shall create community outreach through the Vedanta Football Schools that shall take the technical capabilities to the players and coaches of our communities around us.”
Former India captain Baichung Bhutia said, “It is lovely to be back in Goa. It brings back many memories of my childhood. The SFA has been doing a lot of good work in football by grooming players. It is good to see the revival with good coaches the academy has. I am sure the academy will produce good football talent. The time is apt as the nation now sees a great amount of interest generated around this sport.”
Vedanta-Sesa Goa Iron Ore CEO Kishore Kumar said, “I see a bright future not only for Goa but for the game with many enthusiasts now taking to football. We are excited to be part of this journey. The SFA helps children coming from all over including Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns providing the opportunity and access to world class infrastructure, facilities and training. We have a strong connect through the medium of sports wherever we operate and we are humbled that we can serve the communities by motivating and encouraging a passion to help them live a dream and a dream become a reality.”
The new logo of the academy was also unveiled on the occasion along with the launch of a new jersey.
Also present on the occasion were Sauvick Mazumdar, COO-Vedanta-Sesa Goa Iron Ore; Leena Verenkar, Head Corporate Affairs and Community Relations; Sangeetha Chakravarthy, Head Corporate Communications; and staff of the company.