Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA), upon receiving invitation from the All India Football Federation (AIFF), joined hands with local body, Anantapur District Football Association (ADFA) and State body, Andhra Pradesh Football Association (APFA) to organise the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Grassroots Festival 2017 in the district of Anantapur on May 15, 2017.
Drawing inspiration from its maiden AFC Grassroots Festival Celebrations in 2016, P. Dadakhalandar, Academy Manager-ASA mobilised ASA’s 20 Mandal (Community) Football Clubs spread around the district of Anantapur to ensure AFC Grassroots Festival 2017 Celebrations reaches a new high in India. M. Zakeer Hussain, AFC ‘B’ License holder, having recently joined as the Head of Youth Development led the planning for the festival.
On the day, 60 coaches and volunteers led the proceedings as a total of 517 children including both girls and boys between the ages of 6 and 12 from 20 Mandal Football Clubs participated in this one day celebration. The children were divided into 18 groups and had participated in various activities over two sessions. During the morning session, children were moving across 18 stations learning various basic football skills alongside playing regular fun games while the evening session saw the children warm up through fun games followed by playing small sided games (SSG’s).
In lead up to the day, over couple of sessions, Zakeer Hussain and P. Dadakhalandar ensured the coaches and volunteers understood the objective behind the AFC Grassroots Festival and encouraged them to help the children learn basic football skills in an engaging and fun environment.
Keeping the objective of the AFC Grassroots Festival in mind, Moncho Ferrer, Program Director said “Keeping our vast presence in the district of Anantapur, particularly through football, we have planned to mobilise as many young children as we can under the age of 12 and introduce them to the game of football as well as to encourage these children to take up “Let’s Play” campaign and be physically active by regularly playing football. This year, we have reached more children, but our primary focus is to retain them and engage them through regular practise in our Mandal Football Clubs.”