Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman and Managing Director of UFlex, India’s largest flexible packaging company, felicitated 130 budding footballers spotted and chosen from over 4,000 children across Delhi.
The spotting and selection of these chosen children was done at SSFL Grassroots camps that were organized by STAIRS with support from UFlex. The objective of the camps was to –
a) Engage as many children as possible with football to build a football culture at the grassroots,
b) Select a few promising players and provide them with professional training, and
c) Give them an opportunity to showcase their talent at SSFL, the first step towards professional football.
The selected players will form eight teams of STAIRS that include two girls teams in age groups under-14 and under-17 and four boys teams – two each for the same age groups.
The felicitation ceremony took place at UFlex Factory in Noida, where children spentquality time with Mr Ashok Chaturvediand updated him about the fun and the learning experiences they had at the SSFL Grassroots camps.
Speaking on the occasion, Ashok Chaturvedisaid, “I am pleased to see such a large number of children taking up sports at the grassroots. I was especially amazed to see the confidence of the girls’ teams, I am sure it has been built while practicing football. It feels really great to see how our efforts to build sporting culture at the grassroots, in association with Team STAIRS, are really making a difference. The idea is to positively channelize the tremendous energy and potential that these children have and sports is the best way to do that. I am extremely happy that we are supporting such a noble cause.”
Mr Siddhartha Upadhyay, Founder and Secretary General, STAIRS, said, “I thank Mr Ashok Chaturvedi and Team Uflex for felicitating the young talent that we have carefully nurtured over the years. With Uflex deciding to support SSFL for five years, I am sure we will be able to achieve our goal of fulfilling every child’s right to play.”
The STAIRS School Football League (SSFL) will be officially launched on 26 August 2015 at Thyagraj Sports Complex, New Delhi. The idea of the event is to boost the footballing culture among young children. The event is solely meant for the children under 14 years and under 17 years of age and follows the exact FIFA World Cup format. It will begin with league matches at over 10 different venues across four zones in Delhi while the semi-final and final games will be played at the central venue. All the school teams intending to participate also have to go through the qualifier rounds.
The league has become one of the most significant ‘talent spotting’ platforms for clubs and bodies seeking to acquire talent at an early age. While many officials and individuals from professional bodies keep their eyes on the budding players during the matches, selectors from international foreign clubs watch ‘live streaming’ of important matches and even call for recorded videos to see performance of promising players.
In the first edition of SSFL last year, over 500 schools had applied and only 128 of them could qualify to participate in the league and the number is expected to double in this edition.
STAIRS also fields four teams (two each in under-14 and under-17) that get a wild card entry to the event as they are selected through spotting camps across Delhi and then trained by professionals.
This year’s STAIRS team comprises of boys chosen out of over 6,000 players from across Delhi. Last year, the STAIRS team had ranked fourth in the tournament.