Keeping in view PM Narendra Modi's vision of making football the sport of choice in India, Union sports ministry has launched ‘Mission XI million’, the biggest school sports outreach programme.
A first of its kind, the programme will encourage children to play football and the approach is to work with school principals and sports teachers and encourage and incentivise them to make children play football games on a regular basis.
Union sports minister Vijay Goel said, “It is not just the stadiums and grounds that need to be built. With the FIFA U-17 World Cup being held in India in October this year, we are building our infrastructure and showcasing our ability to organise and execute global sporting events.”
Referring to Mission XI Million, the minister said, “It is a massive school engagement programme for football. Designed with international sporting expertise, but keeping in mind the ground realities of our huge and varied country, it aims to instil the passion for football in 11 million children from every part of the country.”
Officials said that the key idea of Mission XI Million is that every child should have the opportunity to play the world’s most popular sport. To make that happen, schools and parents must be equally involved in children’s physical well-being. Mission XI Million equips parents and schools with the equipment and the knowledge about how to make regular play a reality for their wards, added the officials.
The program will be rolled out in every state and the initial activity has already started. Vying to reach out to over 37 cities and 12,000 schools across all 29 states of India, the initiative will focus on games that can be adapted to different field sizes and conditions, with special emphasis on small-sided games.
It is divided into three phases: Seminars for teacher and educators, in-school activities and football festivals, which will run up to September 2017.