The quality of football at the ongoing Hindustan Times GIFA has drawn several state-level coaches to the stadia to recruit young talent. While football fanatics are already spellbound by the league, this is an added incentive for players to perform at a higher level.
Chief selector and coach of the Haryana Football Association Mahinder Singh also turned up at the event where football scouts are trying to poach prodigies.
“GIFA by HT is an excellent opportunity for kids to display their talent. It is a platform that gives them exposure. There are many familiar faces here as I had selected a few for training last year as well. We have our sight on many youngsters,” Singh said.
Only two weeks into the league, HT GIFA has showcased some terrific football with several games going down to the wire.
“It is essential that their talent is enhanced and developed to its true potential. The selected children will be send to the Haryana team camp where they will train with professionals. If they prove their talent, they might even get a chance to play for the state and national teams,” Singh added.
Singh has also coached Baichung Bhutia who was the torchbearer of Indian football in the international arena over the last decade.
According to players, while GIFA has helped them step up their game, coaches scouting the matches have made sure that are on their toes, always ready to impress.
“GIFA has evolved from merely a local league to the district league. It is also helping us inch closer towards our dream of playing for the state. It has been a great experience participating in HT GIFA again this year,” Vanshaj Gambhir, captain of Richmond Rockers, said.
Referring to GIFA as a learning experience, parents said the league has given children an opportunity at a big stage.
“It’s exhilarating to see these children putting their heart and soul into the game. Besides, the atmosphere is a huge boost, both to the players and the parents. All week long, children are exchanging messages and planning for the next game. Well done HT,” Niti Gambhir, mother of Vanshaj said.
Meanwhile, renowned Star Sports presenter and commentator Gautam Bhimani was also spotted cheering the teams at GIFA. “HT GIFA is like a soccer revolution. Playing football on video games and playing on the ground has a huge difference. We get to see the passion and spirit of young champs and football lovers in the actual game,” Bhimani said.
Bhimani added that he supported Richmond Rockers from Richmond Estate. “The team is always punctual for their training sessions. There are unique qualities in each of the players,” Bhimani said.