A sustainable ecosystem of football depends heavily on the grassroots. With the All India Football Federation already running the U-13 and U-15 I-League, the introduction of the Baby Leagues revolutionize grassroots football in an exponential manner, leading young talent to come up the ranks in a competitive environment.
In an exclusive interview, All India Football Federation’s Technical Advisor Savio Medeira discusses at length the need for Baby Leagues, it affects on Indian Football, the advantages and a lot more. EXCERPTS:
How will baby leagues affect Indian football?
Although a lot of grassroots football is happening in many states, there is no proper competition games for children, with the exception of a few festivals, which does not help the kids to grow in a competitive atmosphere. Starting of the Baby Leagues will bring in competitiveness in the kids and engage them in the sport for a longer period of time eventually leading to a sustained culture to set in.
What are the advantages of baby leagues?
Matches will be played every weekend which will develop players with better decision making abilities, since they will be playing many competitive games. It will also help coaches to get better with every match.
Playing 2v2 to 5v5 will allow the kids to touch the ball more in a competitive atmosphere. Further, the results are cumulative and not on winning one game to collect points, hence team bonding and team spirit will naturally get stronger.
How do Baby Leagues help in grassroots development ?
Baby Leagues will concentrate only on 5 to 12 years old category. Added advantage is along with the festivals which were done earlier under the grassroots program, they will be transferred into more matches in a competitive atmosphere.
What is the future of Baby Leagues in India?
At the moment, only 3 states have started the baby leagues in India. If it has to develop and have a future, it has to have total involvement of all stakeholders to make it wide-spread across the country. We at AIFF are hoping that all states will embrace this initiative with a positive mind for the development of Indian Football, and strive to make it successful.