The AIFF visit was one that will be cherished for years to come. A group of students decided to visit the Football House in Delhi and get a glimpse of the Indian Football body and to interact with the people in charge of improving football in our nation.
We were greeted first by Lt. Col. Mehta, the Assistant General Secretary and later on gave the floor to Pushpargha Chattopadhyay, (Manager, Coach Education, Academy Accreditation & Scouting) and Sankalp Pujari, (Manager, Registerations) who interacted with the DFM students on various topics pertaining to Indian football – present and future plans in the pipeline.
It was a good lesson to learn at first hand with all the changes in regulations that were being implemented in the country. A good hour of constant questions and answers followed with really understanding the game of football at the administration level.
We were then taken for a tour around the facility to meet the different members on the committee. They first were welcomed by Kishore Taid – (Head of Operations and Strategy), who spoke on how it is upon them to provide a proper set up that takes care of the national team. Be it from finances, hospitality and overall smooth functioning of international events, decisions are taken with a lot of thought.
From there, Indu Choudhary, (Manager, Women’s National Team), gleefully spoke on how women’s football is rapidly taking precedence in the nation. She threw some light on the success of the Indian Women’s League (IWL) and plans to further strengthen year on year and see mass participation in the sport of football. The plans of having more grassroots festivals and coach education of women were touched upon by her.
Moving on, we had a face to face conversation with Mr. Sankalp and his team who is in charge of domestic and international transfers as well as registration of all the players within the ecosystem. Anjana Turambekar in charge of the grassroots program travelled around the country, looks at the education sector and taking huge strides to make a difference with the girl child. She spoke of how they have adopted a 5 year plan and constantly review and make changes to it. Also, Shevta Sharma, (Assistant Manager of the Academies in India), shared her experiences of constantly increasing the pool of football educators and coaches to help improve the standard of football rise.
Towards the end of the tour, we interacted with Akshay Rohatgi, Senior Manager, I-League Operations & Club Licensing who spoke on the importance of having proper coach education, following procedure to license every club in the I-League and efforts made to increase the numbers in the stadium.
The to-be managers met Savio Madeira (Technical Director, AIFF) who put across his ideology of how football should be played, coached and trained in India. He passionately spoke about the youth programs been thoroughly implemented around the nation and has seen considerable improvements.
The educational tour finally ended with the students interacting with Javier Ceppi (Tournament Director, LOC, FIFA World Cup U17) who shared his experiences and knowledge of what he believes will be an incredible World Cup and the efforts made to make this a global spectacle. He gave the students important tips on the working of the football industry and the challenges it faces daily as well as how one can bring a change to it.
Overall, it was an eye opener to interact with the brains that run the show as well as a proper education at the “Football House”.