11th January 2015; Ahmedabad:Supported by Uflex - India’s largest flexible packaging company, Stairs School Football League (SSFL), the world’s largest talent spotting and training programme was launched today in Ahmedabad. SSFL – Gujarat was launched jointly by STAIRS and Sports Authority of Gujarat.
Conceptualized to identify football talent at early adolescence so that India could get some of the best players to take the country, SSFL-Gujarat is joined by Uflex under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy. It will see teams of under 14 boys from 64 schools of Ahmedabad and Gandhi Nagar competing in a league for a coveted SSFL Champions Trophy. All matches will be played as per the FIFA guidelines and professionals from Sports Authority of Gujarat and STAIRS will closely observe all matches to spot talented footballers who deserve to be nurtured and trained. This is the first phase of SSFL Gujarat as the league may move on to other districts and mobilize thousands of promising footballers across the state. SSFL-Gujarat will be positioned as the district level football league for the state.
Earlier this August, SSFL Delhi that entered into the second year was formally inaugurated with Uflex as a firm ally. The programme in its second year has gotten bigger and grander with participation confirmation from 288 schools comprising 32 girls’ teams and 256 boys’ teams. SSFL Delhi has engaged over 4,000 plus budding footballers in the city and the event will have witnessed nearly 600 matches before 2015 draws to a close, making it the biggest as well as the longest ever football league being played at the school level.
As part of its training program, kids selected through SSFL recently attended a camp jointly conducted by STAIRS and DFB – Germany.
After the phenomenal success of Delhi chapter of SSFL that Uflex has been patronizing as a firm ally, the company earlier last month formally extended support to Ahmedabad Chapter as well.
SSFL is a platform solely for the children under 14 and 17 years of age and exactly follows the FIFA World Cup format. It begins with league matches while the semi-final and final games are played at a central venue. All school teams intending to participate mandatorily have to go through the qualifier rounds.
In August 2015, SSFL Delhi had entered into the second year. The programme witnessed active participation from over 4000 footballers across 288 schools in the National Capital Region. 592 matches were played in a span of 100 days during SSFL Delhi engaging 288 teams. Encouragingly, 32 girls’ teams also participated in the second season of SSFL Delhi that culminated last month.
Following in footsteps of its Delhi counterpart, the Ahmedabad Chapter of SSFL is all set to enthrall the spectators. Notably, Stairs School Football League is looked up to as the tournament for spotting talent for Under-17 (U 17) FIFA World Cup that will be hosted by India in 2017.
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 keenly watch ‘live streaming’ of important matches and even call for recorded videos to assess the performance of promising players.
The fundamental objectives of SSFL include:
a) Transforming the sporting scenario at the grassroots,
b) Uprooting all obstacles confronting sporting talent at the hinterland and
c) Nurturing future champions and creating opportunities for them to excel
Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman and Managing Director, Uflex Limited in an official statement said, “I am delighted that we are being able to contribute towards enhancing the image of India by supporting the Stairs School Football League that identifies, nurtures and trains the football champions of tomorrow. May the best team win!”
(Uflex is in the process of setting up first of its kind Aseptic Packaging plant in Sanand, Gujarat – a project that echoes the ethos of Government’s flagship scheme, Make in India and will generate employment for nearly 3000 people upon completion of all the phases. The first phase of the project will see an investment of INR 580 crores.)
According to Mr. Siddhartha Upadhyay, Founder and Secretary General, STAIRS, “It is just the first phase of SSFL in Gujarat as we are aiming to touch at least 5,000 footballers in the state and scout for the most promising talent.
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.”