FC Goa organise their first under-12 grassroots tournament

Hero Indian Super League 2015's runners-up FC Goa held their first under-12 grassroots tournament at the Duler Stadium in Mapusa on Sunday. A one-of-a-kind grassroots programme for young talent from all parts of Goa, it featured a total of 16 participants from FC Goa's grassroots centres. Its objective was to aid participating schools as the Gaurs look to get preparations underway for the Indian Super League Grassroots Selection Festival that is scheduled to take place on April 4.

The tournament featured the following schools: St. Anthony's H. S. Duler, Assagao Union, Fatima H. S. Rivona, Fr. Agnel Ashram H. S., St. Anthony's H. S. Guirim, Sarasvat Vidyala, St. Rock's H. S., Our Lady of Poor, Tilamol, St. Joseph's H. S. Arpora, Fr. Agnel H. S. Pilar, St. Xavier H. S., Assumpta H. S. Sarzora, St. Britto's H. S. Mapusa, St. Joseph H. S. Chandor, St. Rita's H. S. Maina and Santa Cruz H. S.

Arjuna Awardee and Goan footballing legend Brahmanand Sankhwalkar, who was the special guest for the event, believes that initiatives such as these will go a long way in nurturing footballers. "This is a great opportunity for the kids to play in a competitive and organised environment. They will learn from the experiences and it will stand them in good stead going forward. What is also excellent is that FC Goa is focusing its initiatives on the younger age groups as well and looking to nurture talent from a young age rather than just adding the finishing touches."

Teams were divided into groups of four with the winners of each group qualifying for the semi-finals. The tournament was eventually won by Father Agnel High School, Pilar, based in north Goa. One of the revelations from Season 2 of the Hero ISL for FC Goa, Mandar Rao Dessai was also present at the tournament and spent time interacting with the youngsters.

CEO of FC Goa, Sukhvinder Singh also echoed Sankhwalkar's sentiments and promised more such tournaments in the future. "This initiative reiterates FC Goa's commitment to providing an excellent platform to identify and cultivate young local football talent across the State. The grassroots program helps find and nurture kids at the grassroots level and to improve the talent pool for the U-14 teams for the coming years."

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