HYDERABAD: Fateh Hyderabad AFC, a city based football club, rolled out a unique grassroots football development initiative, “The One Child, One Ball Program” in collaboration with world renowned grassroots football coach, Tom Byer, on Monday.
A number of enthusiastic kids gathered despite the rain to listen to him and learn his technique of grassroots development program.“We are here for the long term development of football,” Yogesh Maurya, founder of Fateh Hyderabad told parents and their children.
Together they will impart training to hundreds of kindergarten and primary school students across the city.
The initiative will introduce bottom-up approach of developing skilled players, with the aim of making the city a model of change for Indian football. Close to a hundred kids gathered despite heavy rains to take tips from Byer.
On this occasion Byer said, “We hope many pre-schools will come forward to reap benefits from the program. The technical philosophy of this program empowers children so that they can go out and practice on their own.”
“The program is aimed at educating both parents and children between the ages of 2-6 on the importance of basic ball manipulation skills with a football,” Byer said, while expressing his excitement of joining the initiative.
The illustrious coach felt that India could be a force to be reckoned with in the future. The 55-year-old is known as the godfather of Japanese Youth Football, where his camps, soccer schools, a segment on a Tokyo television children’s program and a monthly feature in a leading manga have taught basic techniques to future stars like Aya Miyama, a member of Japan’s World Cup champion women’s team, and Manchester United’s midfielder Shinji Kagawa.
Byer has been working in China for the last five years, and is currently the Head Technical Advisor to the Chinese Ministry of Education and AIA Insurance’s Grassroots Football Ambassador for 18 Asian countries.
A brief visual presentation of the program showed that a young child does not need a big field and expert coaches to develop their fine motor and coordination skills.
“India has some 100 million children under the age of 5. That’s 200 million parents. As Tom always reminds me, Uruguay has a lot less people, and they’ve won the World Cup. Educate the parents and check back in five years,” declared Maurya.
Among the first schools to join the program was Iris Florets. Its co-founder and Executive Director Arshiya Afsar, said, “Preschool football training is not just about introducing youngsters to the great game; but it can also have positive effects on their whole life. Whether they need a confidence boost, experience of working as a team or just the opportunity to let go and be free, playing is the answer. Through this association Iris wants to develop essential skills of the children that can be transferred to their everyday lives.”