Subroto Cup Football: More junior level tournaments needed to promote the game in the country says Bhaichung  Bhutia

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: Ace striker and former captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Thursday 1 September stressed the need for more junior level football tournaments in the country to spot the talented players at the grassroot level.

“The junior level tournaments are the important fixture in Europe and other countries where football has gained immense popularity and following. All the leading football clubs of the World have their junior teams and academies,” Bhutia said.

Bhutia who was Guest of Honour at a function to unveil the kit, official ball and trophies of the 61st Subroto Cup football tournament said, “I had started my football journey by playing in the Subroto Cup and it is an honour for me to be invited as the Guest of Honour for the same tournament. 

 “The kids will receive very good exposure by competing against some of the top school teams in the country and I hope that many future Indian players come out from this tournament.”

He admitted that faking age is a problem in Junior tournaments but said “it was wrong to single out any particular tournament for that it is a serious problem which has to be dealt very sternly. Now with advance technology available it is easy to catch and take action against those who fake their age.

 The former captain who is also contesting  election for the post of President of All India Football Federation (AIFF) maintained that Junior level tournaments, training and coaching at the grass root level is  very crucial for spreading the game in the country.

Meanwhile the Subroto Mukherjee Sports Education Society (SMSES), the organisers of the 61st edition of the Subroto Cup International Football Tournament, today unveiled the kit, official ball and the tournament Trophy at an official curtain-raiser at the Akash Air Force Officer’s Mess, here.

The Subroto Cup, an annual school football tournament first started in 1960 will be resuming after a pandemic induced break of two years. 

The tournament will be conducted in three categories beginning with the Sub Junior Boys (Under 14) from September 6-15,  followed by the Junior Girls (Under 17) from September 19-28, and the Junior Boys (Under 17) starting October 3 with the finals slated for October 22.

This year a total of 92 schools representing 25 States and Union Territories of India have qualified across the three categories and a team from Bangladesh will also be participating.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice Chairman SMSES Air Marshal K Anantharaman said, “We are delighted to be back with the Subroto Cup which is the most prestigious inter-school tournament in the country. This tournament will provide a platform for the kids to pursue a professional career in football and SMSES along with Indian Air Force will ensure that no stone is left unturned in the smooth conduct of the tournament.”

A total prize money of INR 23,00,000 has been set aside across the three categories for the winners and the runners-up. This includes a winning prize of INR 3,50,000 for the Junior Boys and Junior Girls as well as INR 2,50,000 for the Sub Junior Boys winning team.

Other cash prizes include those for the semi-finalists, quarter finalists, Fair Play, Best Player, Best Goalkeeper, Best Coach and Best School.

Additionally, a selection committee consisting of eminent footballers will select 25 outstanding players in each category for awarding of scholarships. All the players selected will be awarded a scholarship (one time grant) of INR 25,000/- in the Junior Boys and Junior Girls categories and INR 15,000/- for the Sub-Junior Boys category.

The Subroto Cup will be held in four different venues this year ; BR Ambedkar Stadium (Delhi Gate), Tejas Football Ground (Race Course), Subroto Park and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.


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