Taking Football to the Next Level 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Football is very popular in Khordha district, Odisha. Guptapada village’s playing field is in active daily use for football practicing.  Village coordinator Ashit Patnaik has expressed the need for coaching for the youngsters. In July, AMMACHI Labs staff along with students from University of Manchester, UK, started taking up several training sessions for the football lovers of Guptapada.

An annual football tournament is arranged during Navaratri (September-October). The three-day event is held at Bharapita village, where Amrita SeRVe recently started to work. Varying from year to year, 20-30 teams are playing for 30 minutes due to the high popularity of the event. Champions of the tournament are rewarded with a prize.

During their stay of two weeks in the village, Daniel Gaskell and Iona Williams gave coaching sessions for the youngsters every day. The coaches’ comment: “The football sessions with the boys from the four villages worked really well. All the boys really enjoyed having a structured training session.”

Daniel and Iona mention that language was not an issue: “The language barrier wasn’t a problem as we had a few translators and used demonstrations.” Trainings contained many essential elements: “We did passing, shooting, defending and tackling drills as well as finishing off the sessions with a match,” the coaches explain.

The team is formed. Football players came from Guptapada, Haridamada, Bindhiagiri and Bharapita villages. The outfits are donated by Spanish devotees of Amma.

All in all, everybody was happy about the two-week intensive disciplined practices: “They were all very skilled at football and we thoroughly enjoyed coaching them,” Iona and David conclude.

Village coordinator Ashit reveals the future plans: “Whenever there is a match coming up, we are ready to join.”

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