Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mahindra Youth Football Challenge 2011-12 Finals

The best under-14 football players from the champion school teams of six cities (Bangalore, Delhi, Goa, Kerala, Kolkata, and Mumbai) will display their skills during the final leg of the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge 2011-2012. This edition will be played on the artificial turf of the Bangalore Football Stadium from April 19 to 24, under the aegis of the Bangalore District Football Association (BDFA).

The foremost football playing school teams from the country's most football-passionate cities are participating in this tournament that will decide the Champion School of the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge. The winning schools were identified through the Intra-City tournaments conducted in the six cities, involving the top schools from each city and touching a total of 250 schools.



Last year's star performer - Mani Maran
The following six schools will participate in the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge Finals: 
  • St. Aloysius High School, Bangalore 
  • CRPF School, Delhi 
  • St. Britto's High School, Goa 
  • MSP HSS, Kerala 
  • Pandua High School, Kolkata 
  • Don Bosco High School, Mumbai

Competition in the final leg will be much more intense! Six champion school teams will play each other in a league format to determine the top two, who will then play the final on April 24, 2012 at the Bangalore Football Stadium.

A four-day coaching clinic, from April 15 to 18 was conducted for the players from the six schools by the following coaches from Celtic Football Club Academy:

  • Mark Reid - Youth Academy Coach/Senior Football Development Officer)
  • Jose Romero – Centre of Excellence coach
  • Mark Tobin - Centre of Excellence coach
  • Tom McKay - Development Centre Goalkeeping coach
Celtic FC Youth Academy coaches (L to R) - Mark Tobin, Jose Romero, Mark Reid, and Tom McKay
 These coaches were present at the four-day clinic to train the coaches and players of each of the six teams on individual skills, techniques, and tactical aspects of the game.

The Mahindra Youth Football Challenge is the Mahindra Group's commitment to promote football at the grassroots level. The company has partnered with Scottish football giants, Celtic Football Club, who will take on the responsibility of training and developing young talent identified through this initiative. Also, as part of the initiative, Celtic Football Club will be giving replica T-shirts to the members of all the teams participating in the tournament.


Mark Reid with a player of St. Alloysius HS, Bangalore
Mufaddal Choonia, Deputy G M, Corporate Strategy, Mahindra Group, had this to say, "The Mahindra Youth Football Challenge has grown tremendously in the last two years to become the biggest U-14 football tournament in the country. We are humbled by the enthusiastic response the tournament has received from across the country. I wish the six city champion schools all the very best in the Inter-City Challenge of the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge and urge them to strive hard to bring glory to their respective schools."

"Celtic Football Club is honored and pleased at this opportunity to coach the best under-14 footballing talent from six major cities. Our coaches will work hard to try and impart the maximum amount of football knowledge to the coaches and players of the six teams in the coaching clinic. We also hope to identify the best talent, who will get a chance to travel and train with Celtic Football Club," said Peter Lawwell, Chief Executive of Celtic Football Club.

"It's been a wonderful two-year journey for Procam International, who are indeed fortunate to be promoting a venture that involves the Mahindra Group and Celtic Football Club, both giants in their respective fields. What gives us even more pleasure is the fact that the ultimate beneficiaries of this venture are young football players. Procam International will continually strive to improve the experience of each under-14 player participating in this unique venture," said P N Sankaran of Procam International.



Prizes galore
The Champion school will receive the Mahindra Youth Football Challenge Trophy and prize money of Rs 50,000, while the runner-up school will also receive a trophy and prize money of Rs 30,000. 


Besides this, the 'Star Performer' of each match will also receive a trophy, while there will be prizes for the 'Best Goalkeeper', 'Best Midfielder', 'Best Striker' and 'Best Defender' of the tournament. All the six teams will be provided with NIKE football kits.


Opportunity to train with the best

Based of their performances in the final leg, 22 players will be selected for another intense four-day coaching clinic to be held from April 25 to 28, and conducted by the above mentioned coaches. From these 22 players, the best players will be picked to travel to Scotland and undergo a ten days training stint at the Celtic Football Club Academy. The names of these players will be announced at the conclusion of the final camp on April 28.

Bishal Harizan and Jayanta Mondal from Kolkata and Mani Maran R. from Bangalore, had emerged the best three footballers from the first season of the Mahindra youth Football Challenge. These three players were picked after the final leg last year and got an opportunity to avail of a ten day intensive coaching camp in Glasgow with the Celtic Football Club.


They got an opportunity to watch a Scottish Premier League game at Celtic Park, involving Celtic FC and Motherwell FC and another at Ibrox Stadium featuring Celtic FC vs Glasgow Rangers. Their training there involved individual technique training, multiple sessions of Sports Science Testing, learning the right warm up techniques with the under-19 team, and daily coaching sessions with the Celtic Under-15 team. Bangalore's Mani Maran was then selected to represent the Celtic FC Under-16 team to play against the Monash Football Club from Melbourne, Australia, capping a successful and satisfying experience for the three lads.