Guwahati: Tata Trusts, Meghalaya Football Association and the All India Football Federation launched the Meghalaya Baby League (MBL) 2018, a first ever in Meghalaya. The MBL was kicked off with great fanfare in Shillong with 12 teams comprising of young children in the age group of 4-13 years. The league, is organized by the Meghalaya Football Association, will be supported and operationally supervised by Tata Trusts through its associate organization, Centre for Microfinance and Livelihood (CML), Guwahati, and shall be conducted under the technical supervision of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
The MBL was inaugurated by the chief guest Shri Banteidor Lyngdoh, Honourable Sports and Youth Affairs Minister at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Shri Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF, Shri Biswanath Sinha, Zonal Head - East and North East, Tata Trusts, Shri Larsing M Sawyan, President, MFA and the AIFF Vice-President, were some of the other dignitaries present. The owners and managers of the 12 teams, including Meghalaya football icon Eugeneson Lyngdoh were also at the launch.
Meghalaya, like other North Eastern states is a powerhouse of talented young football players. The Meghalaya Baby League aims to give children from the age of 4 to 13 regular exposure to competitive football over a period of six months in order to develop their game, instill confidence and create a base of players that can be drawn on and taken to the next level in their teenage years.
Shri Banteidor Lyngdoh, Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Meghalaya and a former footballer, said, “This is a great initiative. It is a very good opportunity for children and I hope that someday we will see our players all over the country. The Meghalaya Football Association has done a lot to promote the sport in our state and the government will ensure help and promote football in Meghalaya.”
Mr. Larsing M Sawyan, President, Meghalaya Football Association and Vice-President, All India Football Federation, said, “The Meghalaya Baby League is a pilot project for grassroots development, something we had been lacking in India. Youth football has taken off in the last seven to eight years, but not really at the age we have to focus on. We’ve taken note of other countries and in South America kids get regular exposure to 45 games in a year. That has been missing in India.”
Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation, said, “This is a structured league that will be taken across the country. The AIFF has held grassroots programmes, but these have been based on participation and here we have a league that will stress on competition.”
Mr. Biswanath Sinha, Head – North East & East, Tata Trusts, said, “We feel privileged to be able to take part in the launch of this Baby League. This is the first time that Tata Trusts is working with the All India Football Federation and the Meghalaya Football Association. My sincere request is to the parents that the boys and girls are brought to the training sessions regularly throughout the league.”
The Meghalaya Baby League is a crucial opportunity to instill discipline in Meghalaya’s youth from a very young age. This is reflected in the team pledge, which calls on players to respect opponents, officials, team mates and coaches, take responsibility and exemplify sportsmanship. The MBL and the teams have also pledged to make the competition plastic-free and environmentally friendly.
About Tata Trusts:
Since inception in 1892, Tata Trusts, India’s oldest philanthropy, has played a pioneering role in bringing about an enduring difference in the lives of the communities it serves. Guided by the principles and the vision of proactive philanthropy of its Founder, Jamsetji Tata, the Trusts’ purpose is to catalyse development in the areas of healthcare and nutrition, water and sanitation, education, energy, rural upliftment, urban poverty alleviation, and arts, craft and culture. Tata Trusts’ programmes, achieved through direct implementation, partnerships and grant making, are marked by innovations, relevant to the country. For more information, please visit http://tatatrusts.org/
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