Tuesday , April 23 2024

AFC Grassroots Football Day brings joy to children across Asia – Part 1!

Member Associations (MAs) across Asia joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to commemorate the AFC Grassroots Football Day 2023 which celebrated its tenth anniversary in May this year.

Join AFC Media for the first part of a series that highlights all the celebrations that took place across the Continent!

Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) took the AFC Grassroots Football Day 2023 celebrations to over 700 boys and girls across the length and breadth of the country.

Besides small-sided games being arranged for around 200 boys at the headquarters of the Federation, the BFF organised festivities across the districts of Noakhali, Bandarban, Barguna and Netrokona where each district saw at least 100 boys and girls coming together to celebrate the spirit of the beautiful game.

Training camps were set up across football fields where the participants were divided into various groups, each focusing on a specific skill. Following their training, the children partook in matches which they thoroughly enjoyed.

The event was attended by several respected dignitaries of the BFF such as Vice President Mohiuddin Ahmed Mohi and Javier Fernández Cabrera, Head Coach of the Bangladesh national team.

Guam

To celebrate the AFC Grassroots Football Day 2023, over 400 youth players flocked to the Guam Football Association National Training Center to take part in a skills jamboree that was organised by the Guam Football Association (GFA).

More than 200 youngsters between the ages of eight and 10 were trained at different skill stations run by volunteers from the Guam Women’s National Program.

On the other hand, children in the U12 and U15 age divisions took part in a mini festival comprising small-sided matches which saw 12 local club teams participating.

Most significantly, the GFA used the power of football to usher in social change when they announced the GFA Grassroots Scholarship Fund which was set up by the family of the Late Shirley Lai to provide financial assistance to the nation’s youth footballers to pursue higher education at one of Guam’s accredited colleges.

Hong Kong

The Football Association of Hong Kong, China Limited (HKFA) spread the celebration of the 2023 edition of the AFC Grassroots Football Day across five days and in various locales across the region.

Besides catering to young children between the age groups of U10 and U13, this was the first instance of the HKFA opening its doors for the elderly members of the community to join in, thereby upholding the AFC’s ambition of giving every individual the opportunity to play football.

The first two days were mostly attended by young girls who received training from professional coaches after which they took part in a mini tournament.

Similar arrangements were made for boys in the U10 and U12 categories over the next two days which received widespread support from the community’s parents.

Finally, on the last day of the event, the Happy Valley Recreation Ground saw over 200 elderly players and coaches flaunt their skills and show the younger generations that football is for anyone who wants to play.

With young kids, coaches, and adults coming together to celebrate the day, the event was a huge success and contributed in fostering the spirit of teamwork among children while also helping many people rediscover their love for the game.

India

On May 15, 2023, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) celebrated the 10th AFC Grassroots Football Day and ushered in a new era for the country’s grassroots football system.

As part of the Federation’s Vision 2047 Strategic Plan, the celebration saw the introduction of the AIFF’s own flagship Grassroots Programme, the “Blue Cubs” which seeks to revolutionise grassroots football development across the Indian subcontinent.

With an increase in participation by 182%, the 2023 edition of the AFC Grassroots Football Day saw the highest ever participation till date.

The activities ranged from organising exhibition games and tournaments for children as well as the elderly, to drawing attention to the development of women’s football in the country as well as several social causes.

The event also marked the launch of the logo of the Blue Cubs programme, with the help of dignitaries such as the AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey and Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran along with national team legends such as Sunil Chhetri and Kajol D’souza, and the national team coach, Igor Stimac.

Japan

In line with the AFC’s commitment to promote inclusivity, the JFA continued its tradition of hosting the Penguins Cup MAKUHARI, a “walking football tournament” as part of its AFC Grassroots Football Day celebrations, allowing individuals from all backgrounds, including those with disabilities or no prior experience, to immerse themselves in the joys of playing football.

Organised at the JFA’s national football centre, the festival was attended by people across different age-groups and the wide participation of women was particularly noteworthy.

With 20 participating teams, the event was a remarkable success, and several participants expressed their desire to be a part of the celebrations in the upcoming editions as well.

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