Mahindra Challenge returns

The under-14 tournament will see over 20 schools play in knockout format, with the winner getting a chance to participate in the Inter-City Challllenge, also to be held here in April.

“The Bangalore phase of the tournament will begin, tentatively, on November 28 at the Football stadium, depending on the I-League matches,” E Krishna Narayana, the honorary general secretary of the Karnataka State Football Association, told mediapersons on Wednesday.

Schools from the same six cities -- Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Kerala and Bangalore -- from last year will compete in their respective regions. The winners from each leg will then play against each other in the Inter-City Challenge.

Sukantanagar Vidyaniketan School, Kolkata won the inaugural Inter-City Challenge with Bangalore’s Government Sports School, DYSS finishing second. The winners from each City-leg will earn Rs 30,000 in cash while the second and the third-placed teams will pocket Rs 20,000 and Rs 15,000 respectively. The winners of the Inter-City phase will be awarded Rs 50,000 and runners-up a Rs 30,000.

Scottish club Celtic FC will again provide expertise to the tournament, with coaches from the club holding a clinic for the winning schools. Celtic will then handpick two to four players for an all-expense paid ten-day camp in Scotland.

“It was an amazing experience. We got to learn several things from the trip; the training methods and the kind of physical excercises. We also got to see a couple of Celtic matches,” Mani Maran, the Sports School DYSS student, who was one of the three selected for last edition’s Scotland trip, said in the presence of Indian football greats Ulaganathan and Arumainayagam.

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