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Chennai football league aims at inclusion
Through Kaalpandhu League, efforts are on to inculcate discipline and mental stability in school kids
We know how football has changed the lives of Vyasarpadi children. Child labour figures in the locality decreased as they were more involved in football. Apart from helping them perform well in school, the sport has helped them become better individuals as well. This is not a standalone example. Considering the sport’s benefits and how it adds value to a child’s life, city-based NGO Siksha has launched an initiative called Kaalpandhu League. Interested students from various government schools in Chennai will be trained in football by expert coaches.
“This initiative is first of its kind in Chennai, reaching out to 50 government schools across the city, encouraging them to take part in the sport and promote the idea of inclusion. We know how football took over Vyasarpadi area and changed the lives of children and adults. Our aim is to propagate the sport among other government schools in Chennai. The program will create awareness about the possibilities for youngsters in football and will help them realise their potential in the sport,” says Raza Haider, director of Siksha that works for the empowerment of the underprivileged section of the society. City-basedcompany Latent View Analytics also plays a crucial role in the initiative.
As of now, the team is focussing only on 50 government schools across the city. “We have selected a few qualified football coaches for the Kaalpandhu League programme and they provide specialised training and orientation to school students. Football helps the students be competitive and gives then exposure to a participatory sport rather than an individual activity. We also have the support from Department of Education and Greater Chennai Corporation,” he adds.
By engaging directly with students, the team behind the initiative also focuses on the overall development of a child. “Football is a team game and everyone is counted to play their individual role. There’s a large amount of responsibility required from each player when they are in the ground. This teamwork helps children become accustomed to working with others. In addition to physical strength, football helps in developing mental toughness they may never have discovered otherwise. It’s proven that a kid who plays football will learn the importance of discipline as it is a game of inches and requires keen attention to detail,” stresses Raza.
As the first step, a U-15 football tournament for government school children will be held in YMCA Ground, Nandanam, on September 13. Along with the government schools, a few private schools alsowill be participating in the tournament.