Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
Vedanta Ltd , a private sector enterprise, on Monday unveiled its ambitious plans to spread its football activities through academies to Odisha and Chhattisgarh, with a aim to build a development model for grassroots football across the country.
In this regard Vedanta Football president Annanya Agarwal called on the sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and discussed about a possible alliance of Zinc Football and the government to harness and utilise the facilities and talent in Rajasthan.
Appreciating Vadanta’s efforts,the minister said that as far as the sport is concerned, the objectives are mutual and close-knit — India’s qualification to the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and if not then, to 2030.
“We want to allow and extend every child the opportunity to play, and he (the sports minister) just doesn’t want to find the talent, but also utilise the potential of every athlete,” Annanya told media persons after the meeting..
Hindustan Zinc, a Vedanta group company, have launched the country’s first ever ‘technology-hinged football training’ integrating the unique F-Cube technology last week at Zawar in Udaipur.
“At Vedanta, we want to take Indian football forward and have charted out a plan at two levels.” He said.
The company has already set up a state-of-the-art facilities in Udaipur and Goa. The residential academy, which is at the centre of this football drive, currently has 30 budding footballers under the age group of 14 years, handpicked among 4500 aspirants through various scouting camps held over the past year.
The academy can house up to 60 kids and plans to increase its roster in the future.
“We want to allow and extend every child the opportunity to play, and he (the sports minister) just doesn’t want to find the talent, but also utilise the potential of every athlete,” said Annanya.
Vedanta also has the Sesa Football initiative in Goa, which has been running since 1999 and has gone on to become a leading academy for training and nurturing football talent in India.
“ At Vedanta, we want to take Indian football forward and have charted out a plan at two levels.”
“One is grassroots development for the sport wherein every child who wants to play the sport has access to good facilities and second is a football excellence programme, where we want to setup state-of-the-art football academies like the ones we have in Goa and Rajasthan.” He added.