The magic of Mahilpur: FIFA fever running high in soccer town
Known as the football nursery of the state, Mahilpur football academy has churned out at least 200 players who have played at the national and international levels.punjab Updated: Jul 09, 2018 17:29 IST
At a time when participation of state’s youth in sports has declined, owing to various social and economic reasons, Mahilpur football academy’s love for the game is soaring.
The football academy, being run by the state sports department, has produced some great football players, including Tejinder Singh, Balwant Singh, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Baljit Sahney, Amarinder Singh and Gagandip Bali. And the practice continues. Known as the football nursery of the state, Mahilpur football academy has churned out at least 200 players who have played at the national and international levels. Previously, it was coach Ali Hassan and presently, it is Hatjit Singh who is training the young talent.
“The players are trained in three age groups, under-14, under-17 and under-19. The selected players have their schooling at Sardar Baldev Singh Government Senior Secondary School,” said Harjit Singh. He said that the trainees were learning a lot from ongoing FIFA Cup.
Harjit further said that around 60 talented players were provided free of cost training annually and ₹43 lakh were being spent by the state government on providing free hostel, medical, sports kits, nutritious diet and other facilities to the players. He revealed that every player was given nutritious diet worth ₹200 per day.
The players are given a chance to play at the state level primarily whereas the under-17 team participates in the Governor’s Cup also. Academy’s trained players have carved out a niche in the all-India clubs too and have also managed to bag jobs in the sports quota, Harjit said.
Mahilpur has come to be known as the soccer town of international standards. Legendry player Jarnail Singh from the region, led India in Olympic Soccer tournament in 1956 and helped country won Asian Soccer Cup in 1962 under his leadership and the Arjuna award was conferred on him in 1964.
To promote the game, Harbhajan Singh, principal, Sporting Club at Mahilpur, organises state and national level tournaments on a regular basis.
First Published: Jul 09, 2018 11:39 IST