Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju has said that he will be setting up zonal-level scouting committees to identify U-12 sporting talent from all across the country. The Sports Minister was addressing the inaugural session of an e-summit on football organised by Football Delhi.
It was also the birthday of Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri who was one of the speakers in the discussion. AIFF President Praful Patel, Shaji Prabhakaran, Football Delhi and Dato Windsor John, Asian Football Confederation General Secretary were also participants in the discussion.
Speaking about his plans to improve talent scouting, the Sports Minister said, "I plan to form zonal level scouting committees under Sports Authority of India's, Khelo India Scheme which would cover every part of India to identify talent from U12 and below. This plan would be implemented in close co-operation with AIFF and we must focus on how we can further strengthen grassroots football by organising golden leagues across the country."
Hailing the talent scouting plan of the Sports Minister, Sunil Chhetri said, "I feel honoured to share my birthday with Delhi's Football Day and hearing of Sports Minister's plan to identify talent from all over the country is the biggest birthday gift." He further added, "Clubs in the capital must drive sport. There are no big clubs in Delhi, so it is important for all stakeholders to come together and talk."
Speaking about how football as a sport has evolved in India, Praful Patel said, "Indian football has improved a lot over the past decade. However we can get a lot better. Unless big countries like India and China do well, money for football won't come. We need to professionalise football more."
Patel also urged the Sports Minister to help various states across the country to have more playing fields, so that more people can play and a culture of sport can be developed.