October 21, New Delhi [India], (ANI): The Men’s National Beach Soccer Championships, which the All India Football Federation (AIFF) decided to hold at Dumas Beach, Surat, in January and February of this year, has changed the landscape of beach soccer in the nation.
Beach soccer, which has remained a niche sport in India despite FIFA hosting 11 Beach Soccer World Cups, will now be featured in the National Games in Goa starting on October 26. According to an AIFF news release, the top seven teams from the Men’s National Beach Soccer Championships and the host Goa will compete for the title on Goa’s gorgeous Colva Beach, with the final scheduled for November 1.
Arjuna laureate Since he made the decision to hang up his boots, beach soccer has been intimately identified with former captain of the Indian football team, Bruno Coutinho. Bruno is well-known for his abilities in this barefoot five-a-side sand game; in 2007, he coached India in the pre-World Cup. He is now the National Games coach for the Goa team that is hosting. Bruno, who was a standout football player in his playing days, is delighted to see beach soccer included in the National Games.
“The addition of beach soccer to the National Games for the first time truly caught me off guard. It was simply regular football before, but now that beach handball and beach soccer have been added, it should be fascinating “said Bruno.
Bruno said that the pivotal moment came when the AIFF decided to hold the sport’s National Championship. “Last season, the AIFF made the historic choice to host the Beach Soccer National Championship, and that cleared the path. Players now have greater opportunities thanks to the annual National Championship of the sport, which is held in conjunction with the Santosh Trophy. It will only spur growth in the sport,” Bruno remarked.
The AIFF Grassroots Committee chair, Mulrajsinh Chudasama, is in charge of beach soccer tournaments during the National Games. According to him, beach soccer’s debut at the Goa National Games was an extension of the AIFF’s prosperous National Championship run in January and February.
Mulrajsinh declared, “I am sure that this will be a huge success.”
“There are going to be some difficulties. Although this is Goa’s high tide period, the organizers did a good job of protecting the FoP (Field of Play) by placing sandbags on the beach. There will be competition between the top state teams in the nation. It ought to be very enjoyable,” he continued.
Two groups of eight teams have been evenly split. Delhi, Jharkhand, Lakshadweep, and National Champions Kerala are grouped together in Group A. Punjab, the national runners-up, are in Group B with Uttarakhand, Odisha, and Goa, the host. (ANI)