Youth in the North-East are known for their love for football and the region remains the powerhouse of the game in the country.
Over the years, the budding talent of the North-East is professionally taking up the sport. However, with an aim to ace the game and sharpen their skills, the players from the region are vigorously training at the Zinc Football Academy in Udaipur.
There is no denying of the fact that the North-East is on its way to becoming a major talent pool for Indian football. Undoubtedly, the love for the game in the region is commendable and overwhelming as almost every person in the region is a football enthusiast.
Realising the potential of the youth and the country as a whole, the Centre recently introduced the 'Khelo India' programme to revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in the country and establish India as a great sporting nation.
Keeping this in mind, the Zinc Football Academy, which is the country's first-ever 'technology-hinged football academy' is providing world-class training and facilities to the budding players of the North-East region and other states.
The academy is currently training a batch of 40 children, including those from the North-East, all of whom are aged under 15-16 years.
"Among the 40 children, we have youth from the North-East and providing them with each and every facility. They don't have to pay a single penny and they are getting all kind of facilities such as school, tuition, food and lodging. They are provided with well-equipped technology," a football coach said.
"Nowadays, we can't imagine a team without footballers from the North-East as the region is a hub of Indian football. So, we have a few players from that region. They are very good at playing football," the coach added.
"I have been in this academy for the last one year. Here, we get free education and good facilities...I think this is one of the best academies in India. I want to fulfil my dream to play in the national team," said Zaomingtham Aokib, a 13-year-old player from Mpur.
Another young footballer from Assam, Jokonia Narzary also said, "I am from Assam and I am right-winger at this academy."
Moreover, the children, after getting admitted to the academy, are trained in a way so that they get ready to take part in national and international tournaments. To boost the young players, football kits and accessories are also provided to them.
Such initiatives would not only enhance the skills in football but also enable the young players to equip well for their livelihoods.
( With inputs from ANI )