The Under-17 World Cup, hosted by India in 2017, showed the potential of football in India. Keeping the above developments in mind, Spain’s premier football division, La Liga, announced their partnership with Rural Development Trust (RDT) to promote football culture among the rural youth in Anantapur.
Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA), RDT’s sport for development initiative, which follows a well-structured grassroots development programme, focusses on developing players from a young age and has channelled a football revolution in rural Anantapur through its 20 odd football clubs and close to 1600 players.
The partnership will primarily focus on supporting the girls’ participation in football by providing players and coaches with technical support and necessary equipment. The initial phase of the partnership will include female coaches from ASA grassroots bonding with Spanish coaches through interactive videos. The interactions will also include queries relating to coaching as well as the challenges faced by girls while participating in sport in Spain.
“The partnership with La Liga Foundation will further enhance our efforts towards promoting football among the rural children and youth of Anantapur, particularly girls, and it will provide a platform to rural children and youth to access their ‘Right to Play’. We are pleased to be partnering with La Liga Foundation and we believe, together, we can bring the benefits of sport a step closer to the children and youth in the region of Anantapur”, says Miquel Llado, Technical Director, ASA Football Academy”.
The debutants U13 ASA Football Academy, the only academy from Andhra Pradesh, gave a good start to 2018 as they remained unbeaten in the AIFF (All India Football Federation) Youth League only to get knocked out due to single goal difference. Girls’ participation in ASA Grassroots Football Program witnessed an international success story when R Shobha, U 15 girls volunteer coach at Kalyandurg FC went on to represent Team India in the Homeless World Cup, Norway in 2017.
In the coming months, the collaboration will see La Liga officials and Spanish coaches coming to Anantapur and interact one-to-one with the football players and coaches from the ASA football program.
The partnership will be a start of a football revolution in India. Moreover, through this partnership there is possibility of a perspective change in the minds of the parents that sport too, can be an important tool for the growth of an individual and social development.