Football players exhort college students to excel in arena of sports.

The Punjab Sports Department organised Under-17 Football tournament among the players.

The tournament was held at Lyallpur Khalsa College ground in which former football players Jatinder Singh Tandi and Bhupinder Singh were the chief guests. In the final match, Sports School Jalandhar defeated Doaba Khalsa Senior Secondary School by 2-1.

Addressing the young players, the chief guests asked them to play the game with utmost dedication and work hard to excel in the arena of sports. They said under the mission, the state government had already given a major boost to the sports in the state, which was really appreciable. Lauding the players participating in the tournament, they said the sportspersons were blessed with several qualities and one of them was that it helped them develop a team spirit during the game, which could help them to excel in their lives.

The chief guests said during the competition, the players exhibited a remarkable cooperation and harmony to defeat their rival team adding that the same spirit should be replicated for constructing a progressive and a harmonious society.

They also said sports played an important role in an individual’s life. They also lauded the efforts of the Sports Department Punjab for organising the tournament to provide a platform to the budding players.

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Dunking over barriers in male dominated sphere.

Four of them have represented the country in basketball while Priyanka, the eldest of the five sisters, was a trailblazer as she was the first to step on to the court and chose a career in sport. She has represented Uttar Pradesh and is now a National Institute of Sports basketball coach. It was a huge moment for the family when Prashanti was acknowledged for her contribution to the sport and honoured with the Arjuna award last year. Pratima is married to star Indian cricketer Ishant Sharma.

The trio of Prashanti, Akanksha and Divya shared their success stories at the Hindustan Shikhar Samagam. They credited their success to their mother who instilled self-belief in them.

The sisters revealed it was not easy to overcome the challenges in a male bastion. They faced obstacles along the way but remained unperturbed. “Not so long back boys used to run away from the court when asked to play with girls,” one of the sisters said.

“It was our mother who told us that we should strive for excellence in whatever we do,” said Akanksha while sharing how her mother used to tackle those who objected to girls playing competitive sport.

“...Pratima started playing in 2003, neighbours in Varanasi used to say many things that our mother had to counter. As a child it was fed in my mind that girls can also play like boys,” she said.

“It was not just playing but wearing shorts; sleeveless T-shirts were also an issue for many people...” Asked why they chose basketball, the sisters said the game is popular because it is played globally.

“It is tough and competitive also for the same reason,” said Prashanti. “But the good thing is that India is ranked 45th in FIBA world rankings,” said Prashanti who represented India in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

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Possible New Heroes from some Unknown Sports

Do you have any idea whether Kurash or Pencak Silat are the names of places or food? Do you know what Sport Climbing is? Well, these are sports in which India will be participating at the Asian Games. Who are the people who play these sports in India? Do you know that the Rollersports team includes a doctor and a computer science student? Or that the Bridge team comprises super-rich players whose average age is 60! 


India would have 14 practitioners of Kurash in Indonesia seeking to pick up a few of the seven gold on offer. But what is Kurash? It’s a wrestling style from central Asia, likely to have originated in Uzbekistan. It has been compared to judo and, indeed, is also referred to as ‘standing judo’ to illustrate the difference between the two sports.

A Kurash match involves two combatants, one in a green jacket and the other a blue jacket. The object is to throw your opponent to the ground to earn points. Throwing your opponent on his/her back wins you the match. Kurash has been around in India since the turn start of tis century, and India has hosted the junior World Championships and the Asian Championships. The impetus for the sport comes from the desire of the country of its origin, Uzbekistan, to make it a global sport. India’s team is likely to fetch a few medals  at the Asian Games. At the Asian Championships in Pune in March, India won one gold, two silver and 13 bronze medals. Overall, the men finished fourth and the women second. Uzbekistan won the highest number of gold, 10, to become champions. India’s gold winner, Tulika Maan, fights in the 87kg-plus category, but sadly this category isn’t part of the Asiad. Parikshit Kumar (90kg-plus) is one of India’s leading hopes of a medal from the Asian Games. The 27-year-old from Haryana had won a bronze at the Asian Championships in Pune. The Tokas sisters from Haryana are likely to be among medals as well.

Pencak Silat:

The name of this sport might sound like a food dish, but intriguingly, there is an India connect to this new Asian Games event — it’s speculated that ‘Pencak’ may have originated from the Sanskrit word pancha, which means ‘five’. Pencak Silat is now an umbrella term that covers Indonesia’s martial arts. Indonesia’s links with India go a long way back, from the oral history of the country to the arrival of the Tamil Cholas as conquerors in the 13th century. But Pencak Silat was brought to India only six years ago, with an eye on future of the sport in international competitions — this time there are 16 gold medals on offer, a mouth-watering number indeed.

Pencak Silat involves combat, which may involve fighting with bare hands using wrestling moves, or with sticks or (unsharpened) knives, and choreographed movements. India’s national association is based in Srinagar. The sport was planted in India due to Kashmiri initiatives. Mohammad Iqbal, national coach, is one of the founders of the association. Iqbal, 38, started learning karate as a child because his father wanted him to be unafraid of bullies in school. Iqbal, who runs a hotel in Srinagar, later took up taekwondo and Thant-ta, the Manipuri martial art. In 2010, he saw Pencak Silat in South Korea during a martial arts festival.

The Indonesians wanted to promote it as a sport, too — just as Indians are delighted when teams from across Asia learn kabaddi or kho-kho. Iqbal founded the national federation in Srinagar in 2012.
Now 28 states are members of the national association, and we have thousands of players across the country. It’s popular among children because there are very little chances of getting injured — there’s no blow or contact with the face in this sport.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had originally approved a team of 22 but then reduced it to just three! It’s a bewildering move, indicative of the power politics within IOA. Iqbal and Yasin and their wards were disappointed, but hope to do well in Jakarta. Now we have three kids competing, and we expect them to do well because they have good potential.


Whizzing by on wheels is a fantasy for most kids, and if they can do it well, Rollersports can earn them a medal at the Asian Games. Rollersports had debuted at the 2010 Asian Games, only to be dropped from the Incheon Asiad programme four years later. This time, six gold medals are on offer in Palembang, where India will participate in only the roller skating event.

India has four members in the team, two men and two women. One of the ‘men’ is a 20-year-old college student from Ludhiana, Harshveer Singh Sekhon. He will be participating in the 20000-metre road race event, along with Amitesh Mishra, an 18-year-old from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh. Sekhon first tried skating at six, in order to keep his weight under control. He got hooked to skating and began to train under JS Dhaliwal. “I practise from four to seven in the morning, then attend college from eight to four in the afternoon,” says Sekhon, a computer science student at Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College. There’s another practice session in the evening. Sekhon likes wheels — he has a bronze at university level cycling to his credit.

Harshveer had won four medals, including two gold, in the Open National Roller Skating Championship in Chennai earlier this year. His selection for the Asian Games was a foregone conclusion.
The women’s squad has a doctor — Dr Varsha S Puranik, 30, will also contest in the 20,000-metre race. A consultant with the Cauvery Institute of Health Science in Mysore, she will be seeing Asian Games action for the second time, having finished seventh in Guangzhou in 2010. She started early, at age three, and has represented Karnataka in 21 National Championships!

Is bridge a sport? There might be conflicting view on this, but you can’t argue with six gold medals, which are on offer at the Asian Games. India have a 24-member bridge contingent at the Asian Games, and it is quite a motley bunch. Bridge provides the unlikeliest of sportspersons in the Indian contingent — you don’t need to super-fit to be part of the team. The granny of the team, Rita Choksi, is one prime example of this. She is 79 and easily the oldest Indian ‘athlete’ across all sports. She will have company at the bridge venue because there are several other contestants in their seventies in the fray — such as Malaysia’s Lee Hung Fong, 81, the oldest ‘athlete’ at the Games. If the average age of India’s sport climbing team is 16, the average age of the bridge team is 60. The oldies will be providing a cute diversion from the sweaty, over-energetic younger competitors at the Games. At 57, Raju Tolani is a mere child in the team. He is the India managing director of Swiss steel company Schmolz + Bickenbach. Also part of the team is Kiran Nadar, wife of tech billionaire Shiv Nadar, founder of HCL Technologies.   Hema Deora, wife of the late MP Murli Deora, is in the team as well. The 67-year-old has been a long-time bridge player and describes herself as a bridge aficionado. She has to her credit a win over Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, though she concedes that Gates was just a beginner at the time. The youngest member of the team? At 37, Sapan Desai is just a baby. 

Sport climbing:
Going up the wall, that’s what sport climbing is all about. It’s not a plain wall, of course — it has grips, which a climber holds and steps on to go up the wall. The world record for a standard 15-metre wall is 5:48 seconds. This is explosive, exciting stuff. Over the past two decades, it has become a rage across the world, with millions of new adherents. So why haven’t you heard of this before? Chances are that you have, actually, only it probably didn’t register in your mind. Sport climbing makes its Asian Games debut in Indonesia, and 2020 Tokyo will see its Olympics debut.
The average age of the Indian squad — comprising three climbers — is 16 years. That’s right, three teenagers will represent India in sport climbing in Palembang — Bharath Pereira (18), Chingkheinganba Maibam (15) and Shreya Nankar (16). There will be three events at Palembang: Speed Climbing, Combined, and Speed Relay.

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FIFA dismisses England racism claim from Under-17 World Cup.

FIFA has dismissed racism claims made against Spain U-17 football team by England U-17 team’s Rhian Brewster at last year’s U-17 World Cup.

FIFA has dismissed a complaint from England’s FA about an alleged racist incident in the Under-17 World Cup final due to a “lack of sufficient evidence”.

England player Rhian Brewster recounted in a newspaper interview an insult made by a Spain player towards team mate Morgan Gibbs-White during the final in India, which England won 5-2.

The FA subsequently lodged a formal complaint with FIFA about the incident, but world football’s governing body said it had dismissed all charges.

“Following a thorough investigation, the Disciplinary Committee has decided to dismiss all charges in view of the lack of sufficient evidence that could corroborate the English player’s claim,” FIFA said in a statement on Thursday.

“Despite the absence of a sanction, which can only be imposed on the basis of clear evidence, the Disciplinary Committee would like to restate FIFA’s unequivocal, zero-tolerance stance against all forms of discrimination, as enshrined in the FIFA Statutes.”

Liverpool player Brewster had highlighted other incidents of alleged racial abuse and last month European football’s governing body UEFA, dismissed a case relating to a UEFA Youth League match against Spartak Moscow.

UEFA said they had found no evidence to corroborate Brewster’s claim against a Spartak player but said they believed his complaint had been made in good faith.

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India’s football Past Gasping for Survival.

Century-old tournaments like IFA Shield, Durand Cup and Rovers Cup have been overshadowed by the more glitzy and marketable tournaments like I-League and Indian Super League.

It fit that Kolkata, once described as chance-directed, chance-erected, and has given the 72nd Santosh Trophy a place to stay when the tournament was struggling to find one. It began quietly less than two nights after a packed house in Bangalore watched Chennai in FC win their second Indian Super League (ISL) title.

There could not have been a more telling statement of the old order changing in the domestic football scene which is now dominated by the ISL and the I-League. “I played in the Santosh Trophy final in 1993, Maharashtra v Kerala. Tickets were sold out a day before and on match day, people were also sitting behind the goalposts,” said Yusuf Ansari, the former Maharashtra and Air India goalie, in Mumbai. It would often be the same for the Rovers Cup, the Durand Cup and the IFA Shield, which comprised the coveted ‘triple crown.’

Along with others, these tournaments provided entertainment to a country still far away from when world football was the click of a remote away.

“You can revive these tournaments, but who will take part? They took the Bandodkar Gold Trophy to the villages (in Goa) but there was hardly any crowd,” said Armando Colaco who is in Kolkata as Goa’s Santosh Trophy coach.

To that Godfrey Pereira, a twinkle-toed creator with Air India and India, added from Mumbai: “Rovers Cup should be revived and only the top teams should play. There will be no charm if the best players are not playing.”

For Shaji Prabhakaran, president Football Delhi, Renedy Singh, a former international who captained Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, Subrata Dutta, senior vice-president of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), and Savio Medeira, AIFF technical director, these competitions can lend a hand to the changing times. And without financial help from the AIFF, they said. There are enough investors willing to support them, said Prabhakaran.

“Our leagues can accommodate 20-30 clubs but India would need more than 500 active clubs to create enough opportunities for players at the local level. Our problem is that we link every tournament with only the big, established clubs,” said Prabhakaran in New Delhi.

One idea is to slot them before the leagues start. “If tournaments like Rovers Cup are organised as pre-season tournaments, ISL, I-League teams can use them to get ready,” said Renedy from Imphal.

Prabhakaran felt the Durand Cup should stay in New Delhi; it may move to Kolkata this season which Dutta too feels is a bad idea but for a different reason. “There are many places in India starved of live football. Even if the Durand is held in Kochi, it will get a good crowd. It will do well in Kashmir too. If they involve North-eastern teams and hold it in Aizawl, there will be a lot of interest,” said Dutta from Silvassa in Gujarat.

“If Rovers Cup is revived, it’s the smaller cities they should concentrate on; Kolhapur would be a great place to hold it,” said Renedy.

In 2014, a part of the Federation Cup was held in Manjeri in Kerala and the stands were overflowing. If the average attendance in the I-League rose by nearly 60% - from 6500 to 10354 --- a large part of it was due to newbies Neroca FC getting an average of 24,494 per game in Imphal. Prabhakaran and Medeira felt these tournaments could also be used for reserve teams. Seven of the 10 ISL teams have one in the I-League 2nd division. To that Jo Paul Ancheri, perhaps the most versatile footballer India has had in three decades, added that clubs from the region where the tournament is held should be included for local connect.

Another route to staying relevant could be to use them for the youth like the IFA Shield already has by going under-19. “I think the Rovers Cup can be made into an under-20 or under-23 tournament because we need more tournaments for the youth,” said Medeira.

Western India Football Association (WIFA) CEO Henry Menezes said that is how the Rovers Cup could be revived in two-three years. In the 72nd Santosh Trophy, each team must have five under-21 players with three on the pitch making it a platform for talent-spotting. Last year, Bengal’s Manvir Singh scored the match winner in the final and was signed by FC Goa.


Looking back

Unlike now, Indian football wasn’t only I-League and Indian Super League even two decades back. Here’s a lowdown of the different tournaments that shaped Indian football over years.


Held annually by the Indian army, the Durand Cup is Asia’s oldest football tournament. With shrinking space in the domestic calendar, it has lost prominence in recent years.

Most successful team: MOHUN BAGAN


ROVERS CUP: (1891 TO 2000-01)

Once one of India’s most important competitions, it was discontinued after the 2000-01 edition. There have been attempts to revive it since. Bangalore Muslims were the first Indian team to win the competition in 1937.

Most successful team: MOHUN BAGAN



IFA Shield has been held as an under-19 event since 2015. The first Indian team to win the title was Mohun Bagan (1911). Notable clubs to play in the tournament include Penarol, Shakhtar Donetsk, Ararat Yerevan, Pas Club, Bayern Munich reserves, Palmeiras B.

Most successful team: EAST BENGAL


SAIT NAGJEE 1952-1995, REVIVED IN 2016

Held every year in Kozhikode, the Sait Nagjee tournament was discontinued after 1995. It was held again in 2016, with eight foreign teams in it. The fate of the competition, however, remains unclear.

Most successful team: MOHAMMEDAN

Sporting   and JCT 

DCM TROPHY: 1945-1997

Held in the national capital, the Delhi Cloth Mills Trophy regularly featured top Indian and foreign clubs. Notable clubs from abroad to have played in DCM Trophy include Metalist Kharkiv, Esteghlal, POSCO Atoms (Pohang Steelers).

Most successful team: EAST BENGAL


Bordoloi Trophy, held annually in Guwahati, has suffered from diminishing interest since the late 90s. Notable foreign clubs to take part in it include Navbahor Namangan, Esteghlal, Bangkok Port Authority.

Most successful team: MOHUN BAGAN

SCISSORS CUP: 1992-1997

Held in Kochi in the mid 90s, Scissors Cup was a popular annual football tournament involving the country’s best football clubs. Notable foreign clubs to play in the tournament include West Riffa Club (Bahrain) and Perlis FA (Malaysia).


An annual competition held at the Nurul Amin Stadium in Nagaon, Assam, it no longer attracts the country’s biggest clubs, with departmental teams dominating the tournament in recent years. BSF, OIL and Assam Rifles continue to field strong teams.


 Nadkarni Cup (Mumbai): 1908-present.
 Sikkim Gold Cup (Sikkim): 1986-present.
 Bandodkar Gold Trophy (Goa): 1970-1992, revived in 2016.

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Title aspirant Minerva hope to return to winning ways against Gokulam.

Tribune India

Minerva Punjab FC would look to return to winning ways when they take on seventh-placed Gokulam Kerala FC here tomorrow, if they desire to get closer to their maiden Hero I-League title.

But Minerva would adopt a cautious approach after their tiring 0-1 defeat at the hands of East Bengal at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium here, the venue for tomorrow’s match.

Meanwhile, the Kerala-outfit is in a blazing form after beating both Kolkata powerhouses in successive fixtures. They humbled Mohun Bagan 2-1 in Kolkata and then dented East Bengal’s title hopes by the same margin in Kozhikode.

Gokulam’s red hot form can be assessed from the fact that they have collected a total of 12 points in their last five matches.

Placed second in the points table with the title up for grabs, Minerva head coach Wangkhem Khogen Singh very well knows the significance of tomorrow’s fixture.

“The upcoming match against Gokulam is very important and we have already convinced our boys how important this match is for the I-League title. If we take 3 points in this match then we are on top,” Khogen said.

“The boys need to understand this and they will give 100 per cent in the match. In this league, the lower team or upper team doesn’t make any difference. Now we are in a tight situation. The title is close to our hands. But still, we need to work to get it,” he added.

Khogen said he wants to make some changes in his squad to ensure a favourable result as the tactical decision to play Gagandeep as a left back against East Bengal didn’t yield favourable results.

“We think the guy who played against us on our left side was strong and speedy too. We thought Bali can take him on since he is good in marking the players. We want to change one or two players from the last game we played but it’s not finalised,” he said.                   

Meanwhile, Gokulam Kerala FC coach Bino George said playing in the top flight league and rubbing shoulders with country’s premier clubs will provide his team with much-needed experience which will prove to be worthwhile for future.

“As for my team, all our young boys are gathering huge experience from each game. Playing in Hero I-League will give them experience which they don’t have at the moment,” he said.

He also said that his boys are not under any sort of pressure and that’s why they are playing free-flowing football at this moment.

“Minerva Punjab and East Bengal are fighting for the championship. We have no pressure. We will fight and try to play a better game. That is only my aim. Minerva is a good side. Kerala badly needed an I-League team for last 6 years and finally, we have one. Before the start of the season our target was mid-table finish so we are focusing on it,” he concluded. — PTI

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City sports traders seek relief in Budget.

Tribune 31st Jan-18

After the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), the demand for sports goods has declined. Traders say the business has suffered a lot and they have not got bulk orders for long.

Most of the sports goods have come under the slab of 18 per cent tax slab post GST, whereas the value added tax (VAT) barely existed in the 6 per cent tax bracket.

City sports industry caters to the 50 per cent of sports items in the country.

Sports dealers in the city are looking for some relief in the budget. “The government should encourage the sports industry by keeping the sports equipment available in the viable tax bracket and reduce the GST rates to 5 or 12 per cent, instead of 18 per cent,” said Harpal, a trader.

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Defying poverty, young girls shine in sports.

These petite young girls at the age of 10 and 16 are stars in the making. It has been just four months that Parnaj Preet Kaur, a Class VII student, started learning judo, while Manpreet Kaur has been learning javelin throw since last year.

These girls have won bronze in the national and Punjab school games, held at Rohtak and Tarn Taran, respectively.Manpreet Kaur

Manpreet Kaur, whose father is a small farmer, won bronze at national level. Sudhir Kumar, physical education teacher at Government Senior Secondary School, said Kaur came there this year. “She has shown great potential and we are proud that she has won bronze. We will keep on encouraging her,” he said.

For Parnaj Preet Kaur, it was her third tournament. She started learning the game only four months ago. Despite the fact that her family condition is not good, her family doesn’t want her to stop. She won bronze in the state school games organised on December 24 in Tarn Taran in 32 kg category. In last game too, she won a bronze medal. Kaur, who hails from Batala, lives in a hostel at Nehru Garden Senior Secondary Girls School.

Paraj said,” I was earlier into books all the time, but now, since I have jumped into the world of sports, I don’t like anything else. I am totally into playing judo now. I want to be a judo star.”

Her mother Harpreet Kaur says the family is economically weak and despite being unhealthy, her husband has to go abroad to earn for his family. “I Parnaj Preet Kaurhave three daughters and a son. I know that how much it is difficult for me to make arrangements for my family,” said Kaur, a homemaker. She also added that her husband is not well and will come here soon.

Parnaj’s elder sister, who is 14 years old, is also into sports. She is athlete. Their mother said she wanted that both girls to make her proud by clinching good positions in their respective games.

Parnaj’s coach Sudhir Kumar said he was proud to be teaching such a dedicated young girl. “I am proud of her. I want to see her in the nationals now. For that, I will keep on guiding her and will make her prepare,” he added.

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A kick-off with a brand new life.

Meet these three young women, who dared to choose a career they loved, not the ones their parents decided for them. And they are happy, promising to attain greater heights.

In April this year, a picture of girl students throwing rocks at security forces became a defining image of the resentment and anger in the region. At the centre of this image was 23-year-old Afshan Ashiq, a footballer, carrying a stone which she appeared to aim at a police vehicle. “I am not a stone-thrower, was never one and will never be. I want to be known as a footballer,” says Afshan. 

Her transition from being a student from Kashmir to an aspiring footballer has seen a usual struggle between what a woman ‘should’ do and what she does feel like doing. So far, she is through half-way: a sporting career looks right ahead.

The April incident, Afshan says, was “a reaction to the police using harsh language with me and other girls”. “We had to defend ourselves.”Afshan has moved past that image with help from the state government. She met chief minister Mehbooba Mufti who decided to do her bit to promote both Afshan and women’s football in the state. Afshan is now the captain and goalkeeper of the J&K team competing in the Indian Women’s League which had the first season kicking off in Cuttack in October last year. The league is run by the All India Football Federation.

Afshan is training in Mumbai and aims to play for the Indian side. “Mumbai is completely a new world,” she says. “People are professional. There is competition and exposure.” She plays for a Mumbai club and has even inspired a Bollywood biopic on her life.

“Many girls in Kashmir sacrifice their dreams to a mindset. I am happy I have been able to convince my parents about my career. They are happy,” she said. Her tenacity has led the state government to actively support sporting talents. “We are taking multiple initiatives such as opening academies with professional coaches to train the youth in various sports,” says secretary, J&K State Sports Council, Waheed-ur-Rehman Para.

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UP government wants its primary school students to play football.

As part of the initiative, the government will encourage around 1.85 crore students enrolled in around 1.10 lakh primary and around 50,000 upper primary schools being run by it across the 75 districts to take up the sport with a gusto.

With memories of overwhelming response to FIFA Under-17 World Cup held recently in India still fresh, the state government has decided to promote football at the school-level.

As part of the initiative, the government will encourage around 1.85 crore students enrolled in around 1.10 lakh primary and around 50,000 upper primary schools being run by it across the 75 districts to take up the sport with a gusto.

As step one, it has decided to have under-14 teams in each government-run primary schools.

The education directorate (basic) has instructed all divisional and district level officials to ensure that at least two footballs each are made available in every school functioning under their jurisdiction on a priority.

The plan is to later select players from these school teams for district-level squads and with support of All India Football Federation (AIFF) make the state a hub of football players.

The seriousness of the state government for the mission can be gauged from the fact for the first time a state level under-14 football championship has also been planned for these students in February/March 2018 as per the guidelines of All India Football Federation.

In a missive dated December 6, additional director education (camp) Ruby Singh has ordered all divisional assistant directors of education (basic) and basic shiksha adhikaris (BSAs) of all districts to ensure that students of every school get to play football at least 2-3 days every week, said BSA-Allahabad Sanjay Kushwaha.

They have also been asked to organise frequent matches at district and divisional level to help these students improve their playing skills, he added.

The officials have been instructed to ensure that they succeed in preparing a good under-14 team at the district and the divisional level to represent them while praising their efforts in the past to promote sports and other child welfare activities in the schools.

The letter also acknowledges recent steps taken to encourage children of government primary schools to embrace sports and these have helped create a fertile environment for the task at hand.

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