About the theme
The Tata Trusts’ football footprint covers Andhra Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. Under the Tata Trusts’ football initiative, there has been a special emphasis on promoting talent from north-east India. This region has contributed the maximum number of football players in the country. In fact, the side that India fielded in the 2017 under-17 World Cup had ten players from the North-East.
The Trusts believe that promoting football will have the dual benefit of raising the standard of Indian football as well as promoting livelihood opportunities in this underdeveloped region. Most incomes in the North-East are dependent on farming (tea and paddy) or animal husbandry. Through sport and the exposure it provides, the Trusts hope to enable youngsters from rural and tribal communities to discover new livelihood opportunities.
The key challenges were the lack of robust grassroots coaching programmes and the absence of sports infrastructure. This gap is what the Trusts have worked to bridge, by implementing programmes that will nurture talent to help youngsters grow into professional football players.