Over 650 talented children will kick the ball around in a grassroots football league organised jointly by the Goa Football Development Council (GFDC) and leading telecom service provider Vodafone.
The organisers said at a press conference on Thursday that children under the age of 12 presently training across six nurturing centres in Goa operated by the GFDC would play in over 600 matches over six months as part of the Vodafone GFDC Rising Stars Football Festival 2013.
"This is the biggest football activity of its kind in Goa. The best talent which will emerge at the end of the tournament will be nurtured further and could be picked up by the many football clubs in the country and Goa," Rufino Monteiro, chairman of the GFDC said, adding that the talent pool of footballers in Goa would be enriched considerably with the help of the league for youngsters.
Floated by the Goa government last year, the GFDC has been mandated to take football to the people and groom talented youngsters. The GFDC was also a logical extension of the state government's decision to make football a state sport.
Monteiro said that the aim of the agency was to bring over 5000 talented, young footballers over the next two years under its wing and making them ready for professional footballing careers.
Ishmeet Singh, Vodafone's business head for Maharashtra and Goa, said that the aim of partnering with the GFDC was to create "an engaging and rewarding platform for football enthusiasts" in the state.
"We are delighted to partner with GFDC in developing quality talent for football in the state of Goa. This initiative reinforces Vodafone's continued commitment to support and promote football at the grassroots level in Goa," he said.