The Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) is all set to give a massive thrust to the game at the grassroot level, the lack of infrastructure in the city notwithstanding. And for this, they have roped in the services of former international Dinesh Nair to head a team dedicated to promoting the game to the younger generation.
"Dinesh has been included as an executive committee member and a specific post will be assigned to him after the approval of our members at the meeting next week. Dinesh has played professionally football and also runs his own company that promotes the game on different platforms.
That's why we found him apt for the job. He will work together with our committee members Fr Lawrence D'Souza, Mumbai FC's Henry Picardo and former international Jacinto D'Silva on the grassroots project," MDFA president Digambar Kandarklar told mid-day yesterday.
According to sources, Nair could be handed the MDFA Chief Executive Officer's post. "We have three major events coming up - FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the Indian Super League (ISL) and India hosting the 2017 U-17 World Cup - so the time is perfect to bring about change.
The idea is to improve MDFA's leagues, encourage football at the grassroots with a camp for kids once every month, educate school coaches and referees, conduct tournaments for schools/colleges/corporates, etc," explained Nair, who has already drawn up an extensive blueprint for the road ahead.
Picardo, who manages the Mumbai FC team and is an AFC 'B' license coach elaborated: "We began with the celebration of the AFC Grassroots day on May 15 for the first time in MDFA's history at St Xavier's Ground, Parel, where over 250 kids participated.
One major change our football systems needs is that young kids should not be made to play 11-a-side matches. Kids in the age group of 8-10 must play five-a-side or seven-a-side matches, to have better involvement and understanding.
We'll look to tie-up with the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) that conducts tournaments for schools and convince them to have seven-a-side and five-a-side tournaments for U-8 and U-10 age groups."