Hindustan Times Great Indian Football Action 2016 drew thousands of football enthusiasts to the match venues at Ansal University in Gurgaon and CWG Sports Complex in Delhi. Two days of intense matches took place between the 454 final teams. Hordes of people came in with their families and friends to support young players in their league matches as well as celebrate the spirit of sports. There were some very close matches as well as outstanding display of talent and sportsmanship on field.
Some teams performed beyond expectations and blew away the competition. Last year’s junior champions from Gurgaon, team Skillblazers from Nirvana Country scored 10, 8 and 13 goals respectively without conceding a single goal in their three matches. They have definitely set their eyes on winning the trophy again and are the team to watch out for. HT GIFA Season 2 senior Gurgaon winners Palms FC also qualified for the Super 16 stage after winning a gruelling match against Harmony FC who put up a tough and commendable fight.
Nimisha Narayan, mother of Sattvik who is the goalkeeper for team Uniworld Warriors, used to be a district-level cricket player, but HT GIFA sparked his interest in football. He has been playing for six months and practices regularly.
Nimisha says, “Sports has helped Sattvik toughen up and become strong. He never complains about injuries and has learnt to deal with them. He regularly exercises, goes running and swimming. HT GIFA has helped Sattvik discover a new sport and is a great platform to showcase talent.”
The most interesting match was between Nirvana FC and FC Hewo United where the match reached the stage of penalty shoot-out with spectators holding their breath. Finally, team Hewo United managed to win with a fantastic goal, earning a place in the Super 16.
A very special team Angel’s Academy, an underprivileged all-girls team put up a good fight against Rajputana Rifles till the very end but conceded a goal in the last minute. Kudos to them for a fantastic show of passion and spirit. Team Playerzz had a diverse mix of players hailing from Afghanistan, Nigeria, Nepal and India.
Parents of team Black Panthers FC wanted HT GIFA to be a month-long event so that they could come with their kids every weekend. They also appealed for a parents’ edition of HT GIFA. With so many exciting moments in the first round of matches, next weekend is sure to be enthralling.
Hindustan Times Great Indian Football Action is not just about promoting grassroots football and development of sports among the youth of our country, it is also about inter-locality rivalry and pride for one’s own society/locality.
The best thing that the budding sportspersons of our nation could get is support from their parents, relatives, neighbours and friends to pursue their dreams. HT GIFA aims to give a push to such budding talented players in football and help them gain supporters.
Delhi NCR’s biggest inter-locality football tournament for children is preparing to move on to the next phase of matches on October 8 and October 9. It has stayed true to its grand scale especially with big bang opening ceremony on September 24 at the Thyagaraj Stadium.
With participation of over 2300 teams in registration, 750 teams in pre-qualifiers and over 1.1 lakh votes collected for wildcard entry, the tournament, as we see, has only begun.