For the second year running, the HT Great Indian Football Action (GIFA) is expected to make a big impact on school-going children in the Delhi-NCR region. In fact, after the first round last weekend, the winning teams were seen chalking out plans for the next round.
According to DR Saini, principal, Delhi Public School (RK Puram), a majority of students lead a sedentary lifestyle, hardly indulging in sporting activities. Surprisingly, an event like GIFA will keep the participating teams on their toes. Saini, who has a passion for sport, said GIFA was a good initiative for promoting sport at the grassroots. “It’s a big thing, many are coming forward to play and sweat it out on the field. This is the way to channelise youthful energy in a constructive way.”
GIFA, said Saini, had captured the imagination of youngsters in the region. If schools were not fielding teams, players from surrounding areas formed a club or team to compete, thus indicating that students had been gripped by the event, which allows them to kick the ball around.
Given the format of the tournament, it’s a seven-a-side knockout, each team has to give its best to move into the next round. According to Sudha Gupta, principal, Scottish High International School, Gurgaon, quick thinking and coordination will be needed to score over the others in this format. “It’s a good way to learn, which is not possible during the normal routine of a classroom. The opportunity to learn more about triumphs and tribulations only comes through toiling on the field,” she said.
When Nitish Sahni & Co enrolled their team, Nirvana Tigers, in the junior category, they hardly had an idea on how to go about it against their opponents in the first round. After a win, things have changed for the youngsters as they are looking forward to the next round this weekend. Nitish and his team have their eyes set on another victory. “We have been playing for long, but this is a platform to show our talent and win the overall trophy,” he said about making an impact in the tournament.
Nitish’s mother, Shalu, is also excited about the event. “It will definitely help instill fighting spirit in the students and will have lasting impact on them.”
The event is not just keeping competitors and their parents on the edge, former sportspersons like Rupa Chakravorty, principal of Suncity School, Gurgaon, too is keenly involved. According to Chakravorty, students will get a chance to learn leadership qualities.
“GIFA is giving the children an opportunity to open their mind and explore more.”