AIFF aims to boost talent identification

New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) The ongoing grassroots leaders course being conducted by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) aims to tutor the 25 participants in identifying talent from their respective states, AIFF technical director Scott O’Donell informed on Thursday.

“We have spent the last three years to raise the profile of the grassroots and we are at a stage to now identify talented players in the programme and challenge them further,” O’Donell said in a statement.

The three-day informative course is being attended by technical officers and grassroots development officers from all over the country.

Gautam Ghosh, the technical officer of the Indian Football Association, West Bengal, agreed with O’Donell.

“We have set up six Grassroots Centres. Talent identification at the Grassroots level is necessary for the development of Football in India as a whole,” the former India U-16 coach maintained.

“We already have grassroots centres in West Bengal and the aim now is to harness the talented Players through various permutations and combinations. The course is helping us to understand how to extend the outreach of grassroots football in the state while identifying talent,” Ghosh stated.

“Talent identification is key in grassroots football as it helps in the growth of the talented players,” Dinesh Nair, one of the top referees in India who is also attending the workshop, said.

“In Mumbai we have implemented talent identification through matches and we have designed format according to age groups and that has immensely boosted our results in terms of talent identification,” he added.

“Grassroots football should be about engaging the masses and through talent identification the kids should know that there is a pathway to become elite.”

Richard Hood, the AIFF’s head of youth development, who is also the instructor of the course, reflected on the importance of the workshop.

“The workshop has been designed to deliver a better understanding of how players are developed the world over. We are not in a position to copy any one particular model for our success and an Indian development plan needs to emerge with the focus on the youngest players we have,” he pronounced.

“I have always believed that to catch up with the best in Asia we need to start where they start.”

–IANS

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