Panaji: In a boost to grassroots football in Pernem taluka, Goa Football Development Council (GFDC) inaugurated its Tuem Pernem Football Development Centre at Don Bosco High School, Tuem, Pernem on Thursday.
The centre has been launched in association with Football Club Tuem (FC Tuem) and Don Bosco High School, Tuem.
Around 115 children in the age group of 6 to 14 years have registered at the new centre.
Mandrem MLA Jit Arolkar, GFDC Chairman Brahmanand Shankhwalkar, President of Goa Football Association (GFA) and FC Tuem Dr Caitano Fernandes, GFDC Council Members Shantaram Naik, Collin Vaz, Sanjiv Nagvenkar and Pradeep Chodankar, Rector and Manager of Don Bosco High School, Tuem Fr Richard Correia were present for the event.
Expressing happiness over the new centre at Tuem, Shankhwalkar thanked Fr Correia for his support and cooperation.
He told the children present at the event that one should have a dream to achieve greatness in life.
“Any achievement you think of, for that you must have a dream. You should have courage, strong determination and enthusiasm to chase the dream. The World Cup is starting soon and everyone is thrilled about it. Great names like Ronaldo and Messi will be playing at this mega event. Some greats have retired, and some like Maradona have died. But what is common in all of them is that they started football at a young age like you. They had one big aim — to achieve something in life,” the GFDC chairman said.
“We must encourage kids. No one knows what they will grow up to be. The first step to success is the willingness to listen. All may not reach great heights, but football will teach you as you grow up. It will help you in any field you pursue, be it engineering, medicine, etc, or even in any other sport. Football has ups and downs. In life as well, there are ups and downs, whether you are young or later in life. Sometimes you are sad, sometimes happy. When you fall down, you learn how to rise up. When you play football, respect each other,” he told the children.
In his address, Dr Fernandes said that he has a dream to see more world-class football players emerging from Goa.
“I am happy that Tuem village has got a centre that we had envisioned long ago. It has become a reality because of you kids and parents. The parents should send their kids to play football. Let them learn football. You should think of football. Football gives more strength than education. Today, the sport has been commercialised, and one can make a career in football. One day, we hope that Goa has at least 50 best players in India and the world. That is my dream,” he said.
While thanking GFDC for commencing the centre at Tuem, Arolkar urged the officials to start another centre in the coastal area. He also urged parents to allow their children to pursue their passion.
“Pernem is a big taluka. If possible, GFDC can set up a centre at Morjim or Arambol along the coastal belt as this is far from the present Tuem centre. As a sportsman, it is my endeavour to promote sports. We will have a summer coaching camp and have 5 best olympic games, and village-wise selection in the age group of 8 to 14 years. These kids will be trained for the next four years. We want to make this constituency one of the best in the state in terms of sports,” he said.
“Parents have a wrong notion that kids should be qualified to get jobs. But football has a lot of scope. They can join clubs, departments, etc. They can do a lot. There are so many sports disciplines as well. I urge parents to let their kids pursue their passion. Don’t force them to only study. Give them the freedom. Parents, schools and institutions need to support this development as I can’t do it alone. I only have the vision. Then only we can give the kids a platform,” he said.
Arolkar also appreciated the efforts by the GFA President and GFDC to launch the centre. “Congratulations to Caitano. He takes a lot of initiative to promote football. Everytime we meet he says he wants to change Pernem taluka and uplift the sport, and now he has brought this centre here in Tuem,” he added.
GFDC member Shantaram Naik said that talents get noticed only when kids enroll at such centres. “I am from Tuem village, but I was brought up in Panaji. In 2012, then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had a vision to reach football to every village, and made it his mission. Hence he launched GFDC. Today we have 35 centres and the government is supporting us. If football goes to every village, everyone won’t be a footballer. But talents will be revealed when the kid plays with passion. Kids will get strengthened only if they play sports. We have seen at these centres that when kids in the age group of 10 to 14 years come to play, what kind of problems and medical issues they face, and these issues are detected,” he said.
Fr Correia thanked the dignitaries for their support.
“I am very happy that God is slowly transforming Tuem. My deepest gratitude to the dignitaries for their efforts, presence, thoughtfulness, and foresight to bring about some development in this place, especially for the youngsters. We need to collaborate with each other,” he said.