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The First Touch Football Academy for Women established in 2016, provides premiere football coaching at the grassroots level focusing on introducing the beautiful game of football for young ones.
Maheshwar Haobijam, a certified coach and a candidate of the AIFF Coaching course shares his tryst with the academy, the drive being passion and love to share
the knowledge of the game.
Tell us about the conception of the academy and how it was planned?
The academy had just four players at its inception and now there are more than fifty players in it. Given that it’s a very less time, this is a real progress. We conduct four classes per week and we have three batches of different age groups.
Why are the young ones are specifically trained in your academy?
We believe in here that talent can only grow and achieve its best if trained at a very young age. This system has been followed in many countries especially China. We hope to see many represent our country and we want the young to accept sports into their system in their nesting stage of life so that they practice more.
Could you elaborate on the age groups and categorization of the teams?
We have a category called the Transition Teams where we sub-group them to ‘Stars and Gems of under 8’. Then we have the Competitive Teams group where ‘Aces of Under 9’, ‘Colts of Under 12’ and ‘Knights of Under 14’ are the sub-groups which is specific to their age groups.
Who founded and coached this academy?
Rajat Srinivas, Chandramukhi Prakash and Santosh Thukuram founded the academy and Kumar Satish, Uday Kumar, Dinesh Mohandas and myself coach the teams in the academy. We are AIFF D License certified coaches.
What has the team achieved so far?
We have been winners of Rapid Sports Women’s Football Tournament and Womenasia Football Tournament in 2017. We have bagged the runners up trophy in Doons Cup tournament held in Dehradun, the Adidas Uprising tournament this year and even a third position in the Whitefield Football Tournament in the Under 9 category.
Whom could you note as star players from your academy with a consistent performance?
We have Milind Desai who has been selected for the I-League team of Under-14 Raman Academy. Also, Muskan Saleem has represented State Senior Women’s Karnataka team, Minal Albert and Nikitha Daizy has represented in the district level.
What has been a drawback for your team?
The academy does not have its own home ground and if you see in the western countries, every school has a turf ground let alone a playground and performance will definitely be affected. Besides this, we want to work on discipline and character of the players because they are young and full of high spirits.
What are your aspirations for the team?
We are looking to qualify the team players and register them under AIFF as the Academy as well as in the AIFF Women’s I-League. Development at the grassroot level must be strengthened so that we could bring in more branches of the academy and distribute them throughout the country. This academy based in Bangalore, Karnataka has started its baby steps and taken progressive leaps given that it is not easy to monitor young aged kids. The academy has kept its spirits high and hopes everyone to support them to promote fitness, to promote football for the young. Also Read: Interview | “We have become a better attacking side than last year,” says IIT Kanpur Football team
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