An exciting football season awaits at the Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) as its Anantapur Sports Village (ASV) Football Academy is vying for more after a very positive season with almost all of their young players getting a great deal of exposure to play at the highest levels of competitive football in the country. Thus making them, believe in their own capabilities as well as in the possibilities of taking up football as a more prominent part of their life as opposed to the common approach of misconceiving sport to be a hindrance to living a better life.
These young boys have much more to look upto than ever before. Owing to the impressive performances of the ASV football academy during the 2015/16 season, the ASA decided to reach out to the younger age group of children by bringing in U-13 boys into the academy. The list comprising of youngsters from every nook of rural Anantapur was narrowed down to 30 during the selection camp held with the help of Spanish midfielder Jofre Mateu, who played last season for FC Goa in the Indian Super League. These selected boys were further groomed and shortlisted to the final squad during the latest CF Sant Vicenti grassroots football summer camp 2016 to join the already existing U-15, U-17 and U-19 teams of boys.
Visiting the ASA, in order to encourage and motivate these young lads for the upcoming season was La Liga’s Athletic Bilbao Spanish Forward Ibai Gomez. Ibai initially planned to visit Rural Development Trust (RDT), an NGO, to observe its social work throughout Anantapur. However upon learning about the ASA and its football academy, he could not help but reschedule his visit to accommodate time to meet and interact with these young footballers.
Ibai upon arriving learnt that the selected boys were to be inducted into the ASA on June 11, 2016, he immediately made way to the ASV so he could meet these youngsters and share his experiences with them. He did not fail to get hold of the ball to show-off some of his own trickery to the boys before he took part in what would be some of the boys’ first ever game in the ASA colours.
As many as 16 young boys joined the newly formed Under-13 ASV academy team while another 23 joined the senior teams replacing their seniors who have graduated from the academy. These boys will begin their football journey at the Anantapur Sorts Village (ASV) training along with the rest of the boys who have been here since last season or earlier. Resultantly the ASV will now be home to as many as 75 boys as opposed to 48 young lads from last season in 2015/16.
After spending some quality time with these 75 young footballers, Ibai moved on to interact with the coaches. He later paid the Nadal Education and Tennis School (NETS) a visit to observe its facilities and marvel over its well-maintained infrastructure. He interacted with the NETS coaches and staff to learn more about its objectives of educating the children while giving them an opportunity to learn Tennis.
“I am extremely happy to be here with these young children for the opening ceremony of ASV football academy 2016/17 season. It is very pleasantly surprising that RDT keeps the ASA going by maintaining such sprawling facilities. The facilities are really very good and extremely well kept. It is also great to know that RDT does such a great job to touch and enrich so many lives using sport through its ASA program. I am glad I have been able to visit RDT and learn about the ASA and I wish these youngsters all the best in achieving their dreams.” said an impressed Ibai.
by Maxon Sequeira