Twenty-four footballers in the age group of 11-14 years were awarded the Reliance Foundation Young Champs residential school scholarships as a part of the foundation's commitment to develop football at the grassroot level in the country, at a function held at the Bandra-Kurla Complex yesterday.
Also View Photos: Popular Bollywood, sports stars at a football function
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, ISL founding chairperson Nita Ambani and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the Reliance Foundation Young Champs event at BKC yesterday. Pic/Satyajit Desai
Mikhil Pramod Patil and Tanmay Swapnil Karekar were the two city players, who made it to the final 24 selected. Indian Super League (ISL) founder and chairperson Nita Ambani said that five lakh children attended the football camps where selection trials were held by the eight ISL franchisees. From here, 200 players were picked to undergo a 10-day training programme in the city and from that 24 made the final list. The selected kids will receive training under expert international coaches and trainers and will also get to study at the Reliance Foundation School at Koparkhairane, Navi Mumbai.
Yesterday's inaugural function was attended by a host of dignitaries and Bollywood stars including Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, actor Amitabh Bachchan, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who is also the co-owner of ISL team Kerala Blasters, Mumbai City FC owner and actor Ranbir Kapoor, North East United FC owner and actor John Abhraham, Chennaiyan FC co-owner and actor Abhishek Bachchan along with cricketers Yuvraj Singh, Anil Kumble and Zaheer Khan.
CM Fadnavis unveiled Jio Garden, a sports facility spread over 13,000 square metres which also boasts of an artificial football turf. It is a joint initiative between Reliance Foundation and the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA). ISL also gave away a cash award of Rs 1.25 crore to Mumbai City FC for conducting the 'Best Grassroots Programme', while Delhi Dynamos FC received the runners-up award of Rs 75 lakh.