The Pune edition of the Coach Education Scholarship Programme, which is a part of the legacy programme of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022 concluded at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune on Wednesday.
The Coach Education Scholarship Programme, which is a special effort to educate and nurture more female coaches at the grassroots, was kicked off with its maiden edition on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2021, at the Cooperage Stadium in Mumbai with 21 participants.
The Pune edition of the programme, which resumed the legacy activities of the upcoming FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022, saw an increased participation of 24 women from across Maharashtra.
The programme, organised by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022™ with support from FIFA, the Government of Maharashtra, the Sports Department of Pune, and the Western India Football Association (WIFA), seeks to provide a pathway for aspiring coaches to enter the grassroots of women’s football and guide young girls from the local community who dream of playing football.
Eager and willing to pursue a career in football, the 24 aspiring coaches undertook the E-Licence coaching course which imparted knowledge regarding both, the practical as well as the theoretical aspects of the game. The course, aimed at furthering the ever-continuous growth of women’s football in the Indian sporting landscape, was delivered keeping in mind the safety of everyone involved.
The programme was inaugurated on the October 3, 2021 in the presence of Om Prakash Bakoria, Commissioner, Directorate of Sports and Youth Services, Maharashtra, Bala Devi, ace Indian international footballer, and Ankush Arora, Project Director, LOC FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022, amongst other dignitaries.
Speaking about the occasion, Bakoria said: “It is imperative that our women benefit from a prestigious event such as the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and this program is helping provide an equal opportunity for women to hone their talent in football. With increased female coaches at the grassroots, we will have more female footballers in the country.”
Meanwhile in his message, Kushal Das, General Secretary of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said: “The Coach Education Scholarship Programme signifies a positive intent in creating a platform for equality as it will help women from the local community engage themselves in football and thus encourage many young girls to play the game, while also realising a different career opportunity in football. This will be beneficial for women’s football in the long run.”
Indian national team player, and football icon Bala Devi, who attended the event as the star guest had some special words of inspiration for the participants.
“This coaching programme is an extremely important initiative for the future generations. All of you [the women being trained in this programme] hold the keys to nurture the stars of tomorrow. I wish all participants the very best for their futures as well as for the futures of those they will coach in the coming time,” said Devi.
Her presence in the programme was a huge boost of motivation for the participants and she was greeted with much joy and fandom.
The upcoming edition of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will be held in India between October 11 and October 28, 2022.