When Goa Football Development Council (GFDC) kicked-off its grassroots programme in 2012, the goal was to nurture young talent, particularly in the rural areas of the state. Fast forward to the year 2023, GFDC today boasts of nearly 40 developmental centres. And among these is the vibrant Mayem unit that has certainly led by example.
Since its launch in 2014, the Mayem centre has witnessed scores of budding footballers picking up the finer nuances of the beautiful game, and some of them eventually climbed the ladder of success.
The support staff led by Centre Head Bhanudas Rawal along with coaches Yatin Chopdekar, Riya Dhargalkar, Harshad Jalmi and Nikhil Arondekar, and ground staff Mahesh Naik have done a commendable effort in moulding talent.
Rawal’s vision is crystal clear: to get the kids to excel at the national and international level. And to his credit, the centre has earned laurels with local lad Harsh Patre making it to the National Team. There are a few others who have also made it big, including Ranjit Tete who represented Sesa Academy and Manoj Naik having played for Sporting Club’s U-17 team.
When it comes to hosting tournaments, GFDC Mayem is known to be a front-runner, thus boosting the morale of young trainees.
The Mayem Centre has participated in major tournaments like GFDC’s inter-centre events and those organised by Goa Football Association. The trainees have also represented their respective schools in the inter-school tournaments.
Located in Bicholim taluka, GFDC Mayem has added quite a few trophies to its trophy cabinet. It emerged as the GFDC inter-centre winners at Marcel in 2016 organised by Marcel centre, where Patre had emerged as the player of the tournament.
The centre also played against a football academy visiting Goa in 2019.
The U-14 girls emerged victorious in 2021, while the U-17 girls bagged the runners-up trophy at Poira.
Alongside GFDC tournaments, the students also participated in inter-school tournaments where the U-14 girls bagged top honours and also secured the 3rd place at the district level in 2023.
GFDC Mayem currently trains 40 girls and 100 boys and caters to students from various parts of the village.
“Though a small village, Mayem holds a lot of promise for its young talent and fresh minds. We are proud to train all these dynamic players by inculcating a winning mentality for the future,” says Rawal.
Striving for perfection, Rawal says that sessions are held every day at the Mayem MPL ground that attracts over 140 students who dedicatedly turn up with energy and enthusiasm, he says. “We will continue to train footballers at the grassroot levels to help them learn and understand the basics of this game,” pointed out Rawal.
The centre spares no efforts in imparting the best knowledge to its trainees. “Our coaches are very talented and have come up with very unique techniques and training methods that can be quickly grasped by learners and used in matches. Along with training, we also give importance to the physical aspect of the sport, building stamina of our students and regularly focussing on their fitness and conditioning sessions as well,” he said.
Attracting new talent is part of the long-term targets of the centre. The improved facilities and training methods have certainly helped in enrolling more trainees. “We hold regular meetings with parents and conduct interactions with them to keep them updated about their child’s progress,” Rawal said.