Mumbai: The Mahindra group has joined hands with Scottish football giants -- Celtic -- to promote the game in schools across the country through the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge (MYFC).
MYFC is an under-14 school football tournament-cum-talent-hunt that will be played out in six cities -- Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Goa, Bangalore and Kerala -- to identify talented junior players in the country.
The Celtic Football Club will train and groom the young talent identified through this initiative.
Mahindra Group Vice Chairman and Managing Director Anand Mahindra, while referring to the Group’s decision to disband its successful professional football team Mahindra United earlier this year, said with this initiative the group had kept its promise to promote the game at the grassroots.
“When we pulled out of the professional league and promised to come back at the grassroots level, there was lot of skepticism. It was hard to convince people. I’m happy to have fulfilled that promise,” he said.
When quizzed about the budget set aside for the tournament, he said, “Of course there is a budget, it’s not an insubstantial budget. However, this is about intent and long term nature of the tournament.”
On the partnership with Celtic, he said, “Celtics are no laggards when it comes to performing. They have a long history of achievements. The origin of their club lies at giving back to the community, which is at the heart of the program.”
Celtic Football Club’s Chief Executive Peter Lawell said, “Celtic has in its DNA to give it back to the community. We have had similar programmes in Australia and the United States. Now its time to give it back to India.”
“Thirty two schools in each of the cities will be invited to play a knockout round and the winning schools from each city will then play each other. The winners among them would be crowned the Champion of MYFC,” said Vivek B Singh, Joint Managing Director of Procam International, which will promote and execute the event.
The winning schools from six cities and their coaches will benefit from a four-day coaching camp to be conducted by a panel of visiting coaches from the Celtic Football Club.
A shortlisted squad of 16 will undergo further training and two to four of the best players will be picked to travel to Scotland and the Celtic Football Club for further intensive training, he said.
The tournament will be played from April, he added.