AFC President Recognition Award for Grassroots Football: India, Philippines, Tajikistan

Sunday, November 30, 2014
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Manila: India, the Philippines and Tajikistan have won the AFC President Recognition Award for Grassroots Football during the AFC Annual Awards 2014 gala in the Philippines on Sunday.

The nominations for the award are based on a points system which takes into account several criteria such as the Member Associations’ structure and management of grassroots football as well as philosophy and policy.

The MAs’ grassroots partnerships with various external organisations and technical programmes such as courses and talent identification also form part of the criteria.

Other criteria include grassroots activities such as promotional, educational and social responsibility activities as well as exchange programmes such as those with schools, administrative sub regional football associations, communities and clubs.

"We are ecstatic because right now our grassroots development programme is ongoing since 2012 and we have seen tremendous results and even our national teams are inspiring the grassroots level programme and our success of our national team is also inspiring the kids to play more," said Philippine Football Federation President Mariano Araneta Jr.

First Vice President of Tajikistan Football Federation Khurshed Mirzoev said: "This is a great award for football development in our country. This year we had around 20,000 children taking part in festivals and we also had more grassroots programmes."

Praful Patel, President of All India Football Federation, said: “I am particularly delighted that we got the award for grassroots development programme because in our estimation if India’s football has to develop in the coming years it has to do so on the foundation of the grassroots programme which we have now started.

“It is very ambitious, India is a large country with a large number of people and we are scouting the very best of talent at the ages of 10-12 years old and we’ve taken these children under our fold into our four regional academies and we’re in the process of creating two more academies. With this programme, I think in a couple of years you will see a large amount of talented young Indian footballers developing.”

“We’re very passionate about football and in the years to come I feel the game will not only equal but overtake the massive game of cricket in India.”