Dempo Sports Club launched its Grassroots football programme for the 2015-16-season with a football festival at the Bethmoddi Church Ground at Quepem recently. The festival saw 52 budding children participate in the camp. The children participated in a series of activity grids comprising multiple fun games and competitive small-sided games focussed on improving their technical abilities and love for the game under the watchful eyes of Dempo SC under-16 head Coach Agostine Antao, assisted by team manager Jesus D’Souza, senior team manager Shailesh Karkera, volunteers Joyner Antao and Suzie D’Costa.
This is the first of the several football festivals targeted at engaging youth from the furthest reaches of the state as part of Dempo’s grassroots and community outreach initiative this season. Bethmoddi village, which is situated almost seventy kilometres from Dempo SC’s base in Panaji. And with limited access to the beautiful game, the camp received overwhelming response not only from children but volunteer coaches as well. “The focus of the festivals is to introduce newcomers into football at a young age, create a safe environment for them to play in and most importantly ensuring that the children enjoy themselves,” said Dempo SC Youth Development Technical Director, Katz Naidoo. “It is the type of development that gives children freedom to express themselves and be creative,” added Naidoo. Apart from the various schools being supported by the club as part of Dempo SC’s long-term Grassroots programme, this season would see the club working with similar underprivileged communities in the coming weeks via the powerful medium of football.