Image Credits: @SO Bharat
A joint initiative by the Sports Authority of India and the All India Football Federation to promote grassroots football.
Special Olympics Bharat has teamed up with the Sports Authority of India and the All India Football Federation to join the E-Pathshala – a web training module aimed at developing interest and creativity in football among budding athletes. Special Olympics Coaches from 17 States attended the session where they were trained on how to enable Special Athletes to engage with the platform virtually and enhance their football skills. The session was facilitated by Mr. Victor R Vaz, National Sports Director, SO Bharat, and witnessed the active participation of distinguished representatives from the key organizations who have collectively designed this unique concept to develop grassroots football virtually, given the needs of the current times.
The E-Pathshala initiative is aimed at budding footballers below 18 years of age and provides guidance and training on three broad categories - football culture, skill and training. The experience is set to stimulate multiple faculties around football, namely, creativity and access to audiovisual assets meant to keep the flame of the sport burning bright even during Covid-19 when physical access to sports grounds is limited. Dr. Narendra Gangwar, Assistant Professor, SAI, LNCPE, Trivandrum, guided the trainees through the user-friendly virtual interface.
In the words of Dr. Pradip Dutta, FIFA Instructor and Associate Professor, SAI, LNCPE, Trivandrum, “This initiative has already received approx. 16,000 registrations so far. The Sports Authority of India and the All India Football Federation have worked very closely to develop this virtual interaction in an innovative outfit, to reach out to the lengths and breadths of the country. Designed specifically against the backdrop of the global pandemic, it aims to ensure that the Athletes stay connected with the technical aspects of the game and also maintain fitness”
The event witnessed the enthusiastic and inspiring presence of Mr. Rathin Saha, Manager of Grassroots at AIFF, Mr. G. Kishore, Principal and Regional Director, SAI, LNCPE, Trivandrum and Mr. Pushpargha Chattopadhyay, Senior Manager, Media Department, All India Football Federation
Mr. Victor R Vaz, highlighted the value of the initiative for Special athletes, “E-Pathshala , has provided us an opportunity to keep the Athletes in practice of football. Following the session today, I will convene a meeting every 15 days with the targeted coaches to take an update ensuring the participation of as many Athletes as possible and to address any challenges that may arise during the process “