It’s not the start that matters, it’s the journey that counts. And certainly, Goa Football Development Council’s (GFDC) Aldona Centre has come a long way since it began its grassroots programme a decade ago. From training budding footballers to engaging in community building, the centre has been the proverbial ‘busy bee’. GFDC’s Aldona Centre has quite a few titles to its name, and has even hosted a few of its own tournaments at Quitla where it boasts of a decent training ground. The support staff comprises a dynamic group of individuals led by its Centre Head Blaise D’Cruz, along with Coaches Sundar Raut, Worrel D’Souza and Deborah Pereira, and not forget ground staff Charles Fernandes. For Blaise, the vision for the Aldona Centre is clear: Kids must get the best out of the centre and grow and feel need for sports for fitness. And these efforts have borne fruit. With some noteworthy triumphs under their belt, GFDC Aldona have managed to turn heads with solid performances. The Centre had emerged Champions of the All Goa Inter Centre Football Tournament organised by the GFDC’s Poira Centre. The annual inter and intra centre matches were conducted by the centre, where Aldona B emerged victorious which in turn represented the centre at the intra centre matches. In the Intra centre – away match of the U-13 boys tournament, Aldona won by a solitary goal against Pernem, while the U-13 girls team registered an emphatic 6-0 victory over Pernem. Interestingly, the U-17 St Thomas Girls reached the finals at Peddem this year from GFDC Aldona Centre and were coached by D’Souza and Raut, while the U-14 St Thomas Girls reached the girls north zone finals from GFDC Aldona who were also coached by Worrel and Sundar. Students of GFDC Aldona have also participated in major tournaments. The women’s team of Aldona GFDC centre coached by Deborah participated in the Khelo India tournament organised by Goa Football Association in collaboration with GFDC and Sports Authority of Goa. The tournament was organised in the league format. The teams in the group were GFDC Dona Paula Tigers and GFDC Poira along with GFDC Aldona. GFDC Aldona were the stand out in the group with a splendid performance, scoring with a margin of 4 goals to 0, and 3 goals to 0 versus Poira and Dona Paula respectively. In the final round, the team missed by a whisker to GFDC Dona Paula. The finals was played between GFDC Aldona and GFDC Ponda. Aldona’s Vikram Sutar scored the all-important goal with an assist from Pavan Deushekar The Centre has also engaged in creating awareness of the sport in community. The trainees along with the centre head, coaches and ground staff visited the Auxilium orphanage in December 2020, and spent valuable time with around 26 children. A cleanliness drive was organized by Aldona centre at Quitla. The trainees were accompanied by their centre head, coaches and grounds staff along with the employees of SAG. The trainees walked across the different wards of Quitla and collected the plastic, paper, bottles and other waste strewn around.