It took 75 years for the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to finally have an academy up and running. That too after a missed deadline.
To kick start their platinum jubilee celebrations in the presence of Edith Schippers, minister of health, welfare and sport of The Netherlands, the federation on Friday had an official launch of their Father Agnel facility in Navi Mumbai with 20 under-15 boys. They will be in the residential academy for two years with the AIFF taking care of their education and football coaching.
This and three more regional academies were supposed to be up and running by March 31 this year. As things stand now, the next academy will start in Bangalore possibly in July with two more in Kolkata and the North-East. All four will be in collaboration with Fifa, football's world body.
A source at the academy informed that the academy at Navi Mumbai is a pilot project for the AIFF to test their newly appointed staff.
The boys in academy have been picked after trials at the Shiv Chhatapati Shivaji stadium in Balewadi, Pune, from a pool chosen from the sub junior nationals in Goa in March.