The maiden 7th Junior U-17 Amateur Nine-A-Side Football Championship for Girls & Boys will kick off on November 13 at Bastora Panchayat ground at 8 a.m. announced Dr. Prithviraj Amonkar, President of Nine-A-Side Football Association of Goa at a press conference held at Mapusa on Monday.

The unveiling of the trophy for the tournament was held in the presence of Tushar Bhagat, (Chairman Technical Committee & Gen Secretary Goa Nine-A-Side Football Association of Goa), Praveen Sangte,(General Secretary Nine-A-Side Football Federation of India), Sripad Arlekar, (Chairman Nine-A-Side Football Association of Goa) and Dr. Prithviraj Amonkar, (President of Nine-A-Side Football Association of Goa) at Ganeshpuri, Mapusa.

The 7th Junior U-17 Amateur Nine-A-Side Football Championship Girls & Boys will be held at two venues, Ganeshpuri ground and Bastora beginning from November 13th. The finals will be held on November 15th. In all 30 teams from 26 States are participating in the championship.

“We have chosen Goa to hold this championship as football is widely played here and budding talent can be identified at an early stage. The players can now look forward to a national platform and earn recognition”, said Praveen Sangte, (General Secretary Nine-A-SideFootball Federation of India).

It’s for the first time in Goa the Nine-A-Side Football Championship for Girls & Boys will be held. The organisers are upbeat of their maiden championship.

“We are encouraged to go ahead and hold this event as we have come back victorious twice. Goa Nine-A-Side U-19 and the U-17 team brough us gold medals,” said a beaming Tushar Bhagat,(Chairman Technical Committee & Gen Secretary Goa Nine-A-Side Football Association of Goa).

“The game will be played for a shorter duration, unlike a traditional football match. In all 40 matches will be held in a day with both half’s of the game having a duration of 30 minutes and 10 minutes break,” informed Tushar.

There will be no off sides and 6 referees will be officiating the matches. Rolling substitution is another added feature of this championship with 6 substitutions per team.

“We have budding talent in Chirag Bandodkar, the 16-year-old looks very promising and it will be a treat to watch him,” said Camilo D’souza, Coach,(Nine-A-Side Football Association of Goa). 

“The game will be fast paced and will be very entertaining. Goa has promising talent and we have in the past displayed our potentials by bringing home the Gold medal twice,” informed Camilo.

Camilo is actively engaged in grooming grassroots talent for the Nine-A-Side Championship. He has sacrificed his time for the passion of the game. ” I lost the opportunity to represent the State when I was young and I can feel the pain and anguish when one is denied a berth. I just want to see these boys succeed in this game,” said an emotional Camilo on the sidelines of the press meet.

The 9-A-Side Football bonanza promises a lot for budding talent. Could Goa get another Mandar or Romeo is yet to be seen but surely there is a path created by the Nine-A-Side Football Association of Goa.

The two-day football fest is free for spectators. The boys matches will be played at Ganeshpuri under floodlights while the Girls matches will be played till 6. P.M at Bastora.

TEXT: Rajesh D’silva

IMAGES : Aakash Ghadge

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