After groundbreaking initiative of the State Football Academy (SFA) of Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council (JKSSC) to open District Football Units and Football Learning Schools in each district of the State under Mission-22, the SFA has started its first-ever domestic league “SFA Inter Academy Football League 2017-18” as per the format of the Junior I-League’s of the All India Football Federation to groom and harness football talent of the State.
The first SFA Inter Academy Football League 2017-18 was officially kicked off on Friday, April 13 at the M.A Stadium Jammu, during which an inaugural match was played between SFA Jammu U18 and SFA Kathua U18 to mark the beginning of Inter-Academy Football League.
On the inaugural ceremony, Chief Sports Officer JKSSC Haji Abdul Qayoom was the Chief Guest, while as President Jammu and Kashmir Football Association Zameer Ahmad Thakur was the Guest of Honour. The event was also graced by the presence of International Footballer Arun Malhotra besides Surinder Singh Bunty, Ramesh Chander, Fayaz Ahed Sofi, and Ashok Singh.
Meanwhile, in this league almost 66 teams of 22 respective districts are participating under the three age categories comprising of Under-13, U-15 and U-18 respectively.
The 22 teams are divided into 8 clusters and winner of each cluster will likely play in the final round of the league which will likely held from May 1.
Executive Officer of SFA said that the idea behind holding Inter-Academy League is to develop football at grassroots level besides to provide a window of opportunity to budding and aspiring footballers to show their mettle.
“We will harness and groom the budding and talented footballers of each district and thereby prepare them to compete at higher levels in their own home grounds,” he said.
He said the league will be organised on professional lines in all the districts, where SFA has marked its footprints in the State.
He further said that to make the teams travel less and play more they have divided teams into their respective clusters.
Meanwhile, on the inaugural day, the first match of the league in Cluster – Jammu was played between SFA Jammu U18 and SFA Kathua U18 in which SFA Jammu sealed victory by a 2-1 scoreline. The goalscorers from Jammu side were Madhav Sharma and Paras Bassan while as Ritesh Singh was the lone goalscorer from SFA Kathua.
The remaining seven clusters will likely start their Inter Academy League matches in their respective districts likely from next week.
The Jammu cluster league is being organized by Organizer Secretary Satpal Singh while Iqbal Singh is the Match Commissioner and Vishvamitra as League Coordinator.
Moreover, SFA Coaching panel was assigned the job of officiating the match so as to groom them as future officials for the State.
The league is being played under the aegis of the Jammu and Kashmir Football Association as per the guidelines of the All India Football Federation.