A Government of India and All India Football Federation initiative, Mission XI Million was flagged-off on Friday, February 10 by Indian Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports, Vijay Goel, and Praful Patel, President of the All India Football Federation.
Driven by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s vision of making football the sport of choice in India, Mission XI Million is the biggest school sport outreach programme ever done in the country. A first of its kind, it will encourage children to play the beautiful game, gain healthy habits and final motor skills and learn important life lessons in teamwork and sportsman spirit. The approach is to work with school principals and sports teachers and encourage and incentivize them to make children play regular football games.
Talking about the same, Vijay Goel said, “Mission 11 Million wants to encourage eleven million children to play the game and follow it. There is a lot of interest in the sport amongst the youngsters, and they are very passionate about it. We want to transform this passion into something more concrete and have boys and girls playing the game and being active. This is a mission to connect with these kids, to change football and sports in India forever.”
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken encouragingly about MXIM. In a message to the nation earlier, he remarked, “Mission XI Million will take the beautiful game of football to at least 11 million boys and girls around the country. Children in every state, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Kutch to Arunachal Pradesh will get a chance to learn, play and enjoy football.”
Vying to reach out to over 37 cities and 12,000 schools across all 29 states of India, the initiative will focus on games that can be adapted to different field sizes and conditions, with special emphasis in small sided games (4 vs. 4 and 5 vs. 5). It is divided into three phases: seminars for teacher and educators, in-school activities and football festivals, which will run up to September 2017 just ahead of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held in India from October 6 to 28.