Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri has extolled the virtues of grassroots development behind the scenes of the Boost-BFC inter-school soccer shield tournament, which is set to take place from January 23 to February 2.
Speaking at the event for BFC’s marquee school tournament on Tuesday, BFC head coach Albert Roca was excited to reap the benefits of the 60-team tournament which features U-10, U-12 and U-14 players from across the state.
“It is very important for children to start playing football at a young age, and competitive tournaments like this give them a chance to showcase their talent. Moreover, it is a big opportunity for us to scout for talent that can be added to our youth ranks and I’m already looking forward to it,” said the 65-year-old.
As a child, the 33-year-old Chhetri didn’t find too many opportunities to put on competitive displays and switched schools before 11th grade began, much to his parents’ chagrin. The move paid off as his involvement in the game as a 15-year-old improved exponentially.
“I played lots of tournaments everywhere — be it in villages or cities. We had the best team in the city, and I think that really helped in my development. No matter how much you train, playing matches is very important,” said the skipper.
“What happens in a game cannot be orchestrated during training. We are organising this so we can become the main tournament for which a lot of schools keep training.,” he added.
The third edition of the Inter-School Soccer Shield also witnesses the start of augmenting support directly to grassroots initiatives, in the form of coach education programmes where trainers from participating teams are handed the chance to earn an AIFF ‘D’ license....