Indian boys gearing up for AFC U13 Festival of Football













Consistent with AFC’s mission of expanding the football base in Asia at the grassroots level, the AFC Grassroots and Youth Development Department has been promoting several youth football festivals. One of such programs is the AFC U13 festival of football.

This year, India will be participating in the South Asian Zone of this program, which is being hosted by Iran in Yazd city. Apart from India and Iran, the other teams are Bangladesh, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, which will meet in Yazd city from 10th to 23rd May.  In this competition, players born on or after 1 January 1998 will appear.

In order to prepare for this, the AIFF has already announced a list of 36 boys to be coached by Tarun Roy, Satheevan Balan and Surinder Singh in Chandigarh.  The boys will be practicing in the Punjab University ground and the PEC University of technology (sector-12) ground. The camp starts on 15th April 2011 and will be till 14th May, 2011. This means the Indian team will join the festival little later than the actual commencement of the festival on 10th May. For the festival, AIFF will send a team of 22 boys to be selected from this group of 36 boys. Meanwhile, arch-rivals Pakistan has already announced a group of 34 players for their national camp.

Such programs by AFC are extremely valuable in terms of giving young guns much needed international exposure. Recently, Turkmenistan youth national team head coach Ahmed Agamuradov expressed his happiness by saying “The main thing in this festival is that every young player here is happy and feels the atmosphere of international football. Therefore, I believe that the festival is very important for the boys.” These programs have in past given Indian boys a good chance to prove themselves, for e.g, 11 members of the u13 team which participated in 2009 festival are now part of 16 member u15 team training in IMG academy, Florida, USA and has been doing extremely well among the other teams in that academy.

This is also a great opportunity, not only for players, but also referees and coaches, who will be taking compulsory courses and will be spending quality time either in the classroom or on the training field.

Apart from the South Asian Zone, The West Asia Festival had been completed at Qatar, while the Central Asian Festival is already in progress in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) which will end on 17th April. The East Asian festival has started today in Beijing, China, and will end on 28th April. The Festival for ASEAN will take place in Sabah, Malaysia, from 24 May- 6 June.


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