04 February 2016; Ahmedabad: The Stairs School Football League (SSFL), Gujarat (North Zone), concluded with much fanfare as Anand Niketan School team lifted the coveted gold trophy beating Eklavya School that contented itself with the silver trophy. The St. Xaviers’ School were the second runners-up. The individual promising players at the tournament received the much sought after
SSFL golden boots and golden boot & ball trophies.
SSFL Gujarat (North Zone) engaged about 1200 footballers from 64 schools from the north zone and created an engagement opportunities for over 100 sports professionals from the zone. The league witnessed about 88 matches being played under the FIFA format. The idea of the under 14 league is to spot the talented players who can be trained and mentored to qualify for the Indian team that shall compete in the FIFA Under 17 World Cup that comes to India next year.
The dignitaries at the awards ceremony included Mr. Sandip Pradhan, Director General, Sports Authority of Gujarat as a chief guest while Mr. Gopal Kag, Head Coach, Football Development Program, Sports Authority of Gujarat was the special guest. The other guests of honour included Mr. Tarun Roy, Chief Coach, Sports Authority of Gujarat (SAG) and Mr. Gulab Chauhan, General Secretary, Football Association of Gujarat.
“This is a commendable programme and much needed for the development of grassroots football in the country. I appreciate efforts of Team STAIRS for bringing SSFL to Gujarat and providing a great platform to showcase their talent. The shall give a great boost to the efforts of sports authorities’ efforts to create opportunities for budding and promising footballers,” said Mr. Sandip Pradhan while witnessing the final matches being played at CASA Ground in Ahmedabad.
SSFL Gujarat is supported by Uflex Ltd., India’s largest flexible packaging company. The company extended the support to SSFL-Gujarat after seeing its great impact on children in Delhi. While extending the support, the Chairman and Managing Director of Uflex Limited, Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi had said, ‘Work that is for the larger good of the society must go on unhindered’, the organization is committed to replicate the success of SSFL Delhi in Gujarat as well. Notably SSFL has been conceptualized to identify football talent at early adolescence so that India could get some of the best players to take the country and the sport to the next level.
SSFL has evolved to become one of the most significant ‘talent spotting’ platforms for clubs and bodies seeking to acquire talent right at early adolescence. While many officials and individuals from professional bodies keep their eyes on the budding players during the matches, selectors from international foreign clubs watch ‘live streaming’ of important matches and even call for recorded videos to assess the performance of promising players.
“Every closing ceremony is the beginning of a new phase for us. It is the establishment of the fact that we came here, created a platform and an opportunity that did not exists and this is only going to scale, become bigger and better. The ultimate beneficiaries of the league are the country’s future as well as the game of football.
“With conclusion in the north zone, we are looking forward to other zones of Gujarat and are in process of speaking to like-minded corporate groups to partner with us and extend support under their corporate social responsibility to make this initiative a larger success and end India’s quest for a strong Indian football team, said Mr. Siddhartha Upadhyay, Founder and Secretary General, STAIRS.
I am thankful to Uflex for its continued support to the initiative that will empower the children and youth of the state much like it would bolster the sport itself. This will inspire the children to play the sport with truest sportsmanship and even opt it as a career.”