A school league will be launched in Kerala shortly under AFC’s Vision India Project Kerala. A total of 56 teams from schools in seven districts of this southern Indian state will take part in the under-11 school league. The top two teams from each district will then be invited to take part in a festival of football at a central location. AFC’s Grassroots and Youth development officer, Annathurai Ranganathan, recently conducted workshops in Cochin, Kozhikode and Thiruvalla to raise awareness of all aspects of grassroots and youth football development and to plan for the school league.
AFC President Mohamed bin Hammam has strongly reiterated his support for the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to determine the age of players in youth tournaments. Speaking at the launch of a sports radiology course at AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Bin Hammam recalled past tournaments where overage players had been fielded and stated his belief that the appliance of science would play its part in ensuring “honour” at age-group level. “Some years back, teams fielded overage players in the AFC U-16 and U-17 competitions. Those member associations did not care about the preparation of the team as they only wanted to bring in players that would help them win or at least not lose too badly. In sport, we have to compete with honour and we must respect ourselves. We will try, with the support of FIFA, to introduce MRI tests to prove the age of players,” said Bin Hammam.
AFC recently broke new ground in football for the disabled with the introduction of The Football Association’s (FA) coaching disabled footballers course in January. The main objective of the three-day seminar was to comprehensively educate the 18 participants, all of whom are elite coaching instructors, in a broad range of subjects related to coaching disabled footballers. In addition to the planning and organising of coaching sessions, the course also dealt with issues of safety and communication with players with various types of disability. It also covered the appropriate language to use and how to interact with players in a way that recognises their particular disability but also respects their individuality.