ISL #Grassroots Football Young Champs Launched

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In yet another commendable initiative, Nita Ambani has launched Indian Super League (ISL) #grassroots football movement, the Young Champs in the country. The Young Champs programme was launched at Dhirubhai Ambani International School on Sunday. Nita Ambani was joined by actor Salman Khan.  Through the project, India can finally aim to create a platform for young talents with a keen interest in the game. Commenting at the launch of the movement, Ambani said, “Sports is important to build character and channelise abundant energy of our children in a positive direction.”

The grassroots football movement, the Young Champs is a joint effort of the eight ISL teams, Reliance Foundation, Magic Bus, Slum Soccer and Yuwa.

Nita Ambani is also the founder and chairperson of Football Sports Development Limited under which ISL had successfully taken off in September this year. Ambani was heard saying, “Now that we are approaching the business-end of the league, we are launching the soul of ISL, the grassroots program.”

The on-going Indian Super League has seen a tremendous success in its first season itself. Football is now slowly catching up with the cricket-obsessed nation. The grassroots football movement sure can serve to create a positive path for developing sports in the country.

Prior to 2014 FIFA World Cup, the international news agency, BBC came out with an article questioning, “Can India ever learn to love football?” The article highlights the ignorance around the most popular game in world in the second populous country. FIFA President Sepp Blatter also called India the “Sleeping giant” of football.  Though the article does not entirely show the exact picture of football scenario in India as people residing in the northeastern part of the country have always loved and played football, it does highlight and raise some important issues when it comes to football in the country. This move by Nita Ambani to create a platform and an attempt to spread love for the sport can be seen as an answer to question put forward by the BBC.

India has always been overtly obsessed with cricket, ignoring all other sports which have a huge potential for growth in the country; cricket is looked upon as a celebrity game, entangled in which other sports and sportsmen fail to get the attention they rightly deserve. Efforts like that by Nita Ambani should be made for other sports as well. Traditional Indian sport of Kabbadi has also taken off at the national level through the Indian Kabbadi League; with India’s participation in the International Premiere Tennis League, we can also hope for the popularity of the sport to rise to a whole new level.

Pallavi Sharma

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