Peles, Maradonas, Bhutias in the making

Peles, Maradonas, Bhutias in the making

Free coaching

fKids practise football at B G Dasegowda Stadium in Mandya. DH photo by srinivasThe Swarna Football Academy has been coaching children, most of them from poor families, free of cost and holding tournaments to popularise the game for over a decade.The children trained in the academy have participated in university, state and national level tournaments and brought laurels.

This year three of them have been selected to the Sports Authority of India hostel in Bangalore and one to the District Youth Services Board, also in Bangalore. Praveen Kumar, who works with Tata Elxsi in Bangalore, said he joined the academy when he was studying in fifth standard. 

He attends sessions regulary even now at B G Dasegowda Memorial Football Stadium at Kuvempu Model Government Higher Primary School, Arkeshwara Nagar, in the city on Saturdays and league matches among internal teams on Sundays. He said he has also represented University of Mysore team in several tournaments.

R Rakesh and Arjun Gowda also dedicate their weekends for football. 
Rakesh, who is doing MPEd in the University of Mysore, joined the academy in 2004 when he was studying in seventh standard. Arjun Gowda, a final year engineering student, has represented University of Mysore in inter-state tournament in 2009 and 2010 and Karnataka state team in rural national football tournament held in 2007 in Mizoram and Kolkata. At present there are 39 students from various schools across Mandya city. In February there were 65 students. Some of them dropped due to annual exams. 
The strength would regain once the students settle in their new classes, said general secretary of the academy B Venkat.
The responsibility of the parents end once they register their wards to the academy. We provide three pairs of shoes and stockings, jerseys, shorts and a track suit. Whenever we get donations and the students get ready for tournaments, we provide them with milk, eggs and fruits. During the 25-day annual camp nourishment is provided regularly, said A Nagaraj, president of the academy.
Councillor S P Gowrish, who is contributing his monthly honorarium, said he was basically a cricket fan but since he saw children sweat it out on the football ground he decided to do something for the academy. He said more people should come forward to encourage the much neglected game.

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