Wednesday, April 24, 2024

NEUFC plans residential football academy in Meghalaya


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By Our Reporter

Shillong, March 14: In a significant move to bolster football development in the region, NorthEast United Football Club (NEUFC) has unveiled plans to construct a cutting-edge residential football academy in Shillong. The announcement came during an event organized by the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs at North Eastern Hill University, Shillong, aimed at recognizing the potential of Meghalaya’s youth in sports and cultural endeavors.
An agreement in principle has been reached between NEUFC and the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs to advance football initiatives in Meghalaya. As part of this agreement, land in Mawkhanu, East Khasi Hills, administered by the Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs, will be allocated to NEUFC. The club will utilize the designated area to establish a state-of-the-art Residential Football Academy, intended for the training of NEUFC teams and local football talents. The project is currently undergoing thorough scrutiny in adherence to governmental regulations to ensure its realization.
The event also saw the participation of over 500 youths from various corners of the state, engaged in diverse schemes and programs administered by the Department. Notable among these initiatives is the launch of the latest editions of the Talent Identification Program and the Elite Pathway Program (EPP) under the STAR Program, conducted in collaboration with the Meghalaya State Olympic Association (MSOA). Since its inception, the Talent Identification Program has evaluated 14,500 participants using scientific methods to unearth promising athletes. Meanwhile, the EPP has provided intensive training to 200 athletes through a year-long program comprising app-based training modules and quarterly in-person camps. For the upcoming editions of 2024-25, an additional 10,000 participants, some as young as 6 years old, are set to undergo evaluation in the Talent Identification Program, while 200 athletes will participate in the 2nd EPP Camp.
The event also spotlighted the Super Elite Program, designed for 11 high-potential athletes poised to excel at national and international levels. Noteworthy acknowledgments were extended to athletes who clinched medals in various sporting events, with a total of 297 athletes and coaches receiving cash awards amounting to Rs. 68 lakhs.
The Department affirmed its commitment to hosting similar events to ensure all medal-winning athletes from Meghalaya receive due recognition and financial support. Additionally, the first batch of sports scholarships was conferred upon deserving athletes, covering the period from April 2024 to March 2025. Applications for the next cycle, spanning 2025-26, are set to close on March 1, 2025.
The ceremony culminated with the felicitation of the Meghalaya contingent from the 7th North East Youth Festival, showcasing their achievements.


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