The All India Football Federation (AIFF) organized state-specific online workshops regarding the Golden Baby Leagues, with participants from Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim taking part on Friday and Saturday, August 7/8 respectively.
Mr. Deepak Sharma, Member, AIFF Executive Committee, who is also the Hony. Secretary, Himachal Pradesh Football Association (HPFA), spoke about the AIFF’s efforts for hosting the webinar exclusively for the state and the importance of promoting the game at the grassroots level.
He said: “The All India Football Federation has always lent a hand to promote the beautiful game in the state. Although the Golden Baby Leagues haven’t picked up in our state yet, we’re confident to raise the bar. We are looking forward to starting our first session as soon as possible and hope to see a lot of participation from children and parents.”
“We need to move forward together and reach every remote corner of the state. We have excelled in youth football, especially women’s football, and now the Golden Baby League is another exciting challenge. We realise how crucial it is to work at the grassroots for overall development in and the foundation lies in this age-group. There can’t be anything better than the Golden Baby League to encourage youngsters,” Mr. Sharma added.
Menla Ethenpa, President, Sikkim Football Association (SFA), termed the initiative as ‘fruitful’ and stated that the current time can be used to plan for future Golden Baby League events.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the AIFF for organizing this program for us, that too during these challenging times. We have had participants from different parts of the state who have joined us for this fruitful discussion and I am sure that it will be very helpful in the coming days.
“Everyone is waiting for the day when we can resume football and go back to the pitch. Till then, we can work the planning aspect of the Golden Baby League and prepare ourselves for it in the best way possible,” Mr. Ethenpa averred.
In the introductory sessions, the participants were briefed about the concept of the Golden Baby Leagues and how it formed the base of the pathway for Indian football. The objectives of the Golden Baby Leagues, such as the development of football culture, long term engagement and development of players, etc., were explained to them, along with the advantages of conducting the GBL and the application process for the same.
In the 2019-20 football season, as many as 35,000 kids across 19 states participated in the Golden Baby Leagues program, which included approximately 3,500 young girls and 3,000 children in the Under-6 age bracket.