To make a mark at the Hindustan Times Great Indian Football Action (HT GIFA), members of Oakwood Estate Cadets, the junior team of the upscale condominium of DLF Oakwood Estate in DLF Phase 2 have increased the frequency of their practice sessions.
The nine-member team is very excited about participating in the grand football celebration in Delhi-NCR, HT GIFA, for the second time. The team members, aged between nine and 13 years, said they are putting a lot of effort in the game and holding detailed discussions to win the HT GIFA trophy.
“HT GIFA is a huge stage and we are very excited about the next round. The team is putting in a lot of effort to make it big this time. We lost last year, but the team has learnt from its mistakes. Our plans and team positions are being decided after a lot of discussion and study,” said Anish Singhal a 12-year-old team member.
Team members said they practice five times a week for at least two hours. They also conduct friendly matches with teams from other condominiums and schools in the area.
“We are practising almost daily and also conduct friendly matches with teams in the neighbourhood. It helps us understand our game better and we also get in tune to playing under pressure,” added Singhal.
The team’s only girl player vouched for the support she gets from her teammates, who regard her better than many of the boys. The 13-year-old, Akanksha Shuklani, said the encouragement and support of her teammates helps her play to the best of abilities.
“I have not felt even once that I am less than any of the boys participating in the tournament. We have been playing the sport for the last six to seven years and have grown up together. I love football and our team will make every effort to come first,” she said.
The teammates are all childhood friends and share a love of football. They said said HT GIFA has made their bond stronger.
“We have come closer as sportsmen. The team is always eyeing ways to make its game better and even if one player makes a mistake, instead of getting irritated, we try to pull the player up. HT GIFA has helped us bond on a new level,” said Scott Bibi, a 12-year-old team member.