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Mark Vaessen, head coach of the Reliance Foundation Young Champs programme, was delighted to see the enthusiasm and energy of the youngsters during FC Goa’s Club Scouting Festival at the Raia Football Ground in Margao on Wednesday. Vaessen believes taking a leaf out of Goa’s book with regard to their attitude and love for football from a tender age can be helpful for the development of youngsters across the country.
“We saw some talented boys. In the future, I hope we see some more talented boys as grassroots will grow in all the cities as well as Goa. What we saw [here] is the kids get better skills when they start early with football, so the grassroots are progressing and I think that’s massive for the whole of India. Start young and try to improve yourself. What we also have seen in all the festivals is that we have enough talent for the coaches to help improve,” Vaessen said.
The festival started at 3 pm with Vaessen, Piet Hubers, technical director of grassroots development, and 11 local coaches running the rule over the RFYC aspirants, who were accompanied to the venue by their parents.
One local guardian spoke about his son’s journey to the Club Scouting Festival and how he trained to come this far. “I feel very fortunate and great, just [him] getting here [this far] has been quite an event, looking forward to the next step. He trains through school and different regional zone tournaments in Goa. He’s a part of a very enthusiastic football family.So, he practices almost every day, 3-4 hours a day and that’s why he’s fortunate enough to come up to this level,” he said.
He also lauded the tremendous facilities at the disposal of the young champs and labelled the programme one of the best in India. “I’ve heard really awesome things about the RFYC programme with all the facilities you guys provide and especially all the coaches and the coaching staff, who are from the Netherlands. So, it’s probably one of the best facilities for the training of young kids in India…Probably one of the premier programmes in India.”