Benaulim is an area in South Goa with a history of football and footballing culture which is now diminishing. Our programme in the community is aimed at reviving this culture and activating community participation in football.
The program started with 60 children, but sadly only 2 girls. Kids from the ages of 8 to 14 turned up for the training sessions at Ampem ground. Our grassroots coaches, Clinton and Yadnya, take the sessions once a week in the morning. Sessions start at 6 and run till 7:30 am. The sessions are attended by kids from St. Anne’s Primary school, St. Aloysius High School, and Auxilium High School.
Each session focuses on one of the following – Dribbling, Fitness, Passing, Positioning, Ball Control, Shooting. Training starts with the kids indulging in one of the above-mentioned focuses and ends with a friendly match. After the training the coaches provide a short briefing on the entire session and then then the kids head to either home or straight to school.
This programme has also given us some learnings. We have realised that the success of our program depends on other stakeholders realising the value of what we are doing and taking part. Schools are an important stakeholder and it is crucial to have them on board if we want to create an impact for a large number of children.
While we want to ensure that kids play regularly, we do not want the game to hamper any other aspects, especially education. Currently, the kids who are playing have informed us that sometimes they are unable to reach school on time after the sessions. We are therefore looking forward to partnering with their schools to try and fine-tune the program timings to best suit the children.
Benaulim is a football-loving community. One can find many FC Goa fans living here. We have received positive feedback from some of the parents about the program. Further, we aim to make the community see value in children playing football and get the youth involved in community coaching. As the talent in this community is abundant, we are developing a plan for children to realize their potential and even go for trials at academies and centres of excellence, to get more focussed training. In the future, we would like to see the community gain access to football-related jobs and we are working towards that vision.