Star Sports Young Heroes aims to discover the most dynamic talent from Indian Schools for next generation heroes of football

Kolkata: In order to widen the base of the Indian Football pyramid by identifying young talent from the Country’s largest student direct contact programme from the very grassroots and provide guidance for the next step towards elite football, the one-of-its-kind Young Heroes promoted by Star Sports along with Parle Products and IDBI Federal life Insurance was nationally launched today at a glittering event in Kolkata. The programme aims to provide guidance and a platform to under-15 footballers from over 650 schools across 15 cities in India. This 7-a-side competition between Schools in various cities will be following a two-fold program where both the tournament and a scouting program will undergo simultaneously. The activation programme aspires to reach out to about 420,000 students and from the tournament population of about 6,500 footballers, best 45 talented children will be trained by professional coaches and the select top 16 will be handpicked for an international exposure trip to Spain.

Mayank Shah, Dy. Marketing Manager, Parle Products, Vighnesh Shahane, CEO, IDBI Federal Life Insurance, Rohan Gavaskar, Director High Life Management, Saurav Chatterjee, CEO High Life Management attended the event besides former Iranian striker, Jamshid Nassiri, Head Mentor, Star Sports Young Heroes who unveiled their plans to establish the idea of grassroots development in Schools and pledged to facilitate the development of football talent across the Country.

Rohan Gavaskar, Director, High Life Management, “The renewed passion for the beautiful game and significant enthusiasm and interest in football in India is heartening to see for any sportsman. Although cricket is still the undisputed leader in terms of mass popularity yet the kind of fan support we have seen at the stadiums recently during prestigious football tournaments makes us believe that Indian football is slowly heading back to its days of glory. Our endeavour through Young Heroes would be to spot the new young talented footballers across 650 schools in India and the mentors will guide them to the next level of professional football. On behalf of High Life Management, I would like to thank Star Sports, Parle Products and IDBI Federal Life Insurance for supporting this initiative.”

Nitin Kukreja, Head, Star Sports, “As the country’s leading sports broadcaster, we are committed to building a multi sports culture in the country. We want sports to be the trigger for creating and nurturing new opportunities for children and youth of India. The Star Sports Young Heroes programme will reach out to thousands of young footballers offering them a strong platform to develop their skills in sport through guidance and supervision of world class experts.”‎

Jamshid Nassiri, Ex-Iranian Footballer and Head Mentor, Star Sports Young Heroes, “My association with Indian Football is over three decades old and it will be a great experience to share my knowledge of the game with young budding footballers during my association with Star Sports Young Heroes. I always believed that football needs to be promoted at the very grassroots to facilitate optimum level of fitness and discipline. If we can provide the right platform for the amazing young talents in India then I am sure they will be able to graduate into passionate footballers in future.”

Mayank Shah, Deputy Marketing Manager, Parle Products, “In India, football is very much present at school level but beyond inter school tournaments there is hardly any scope to showcase individual talent to the whole country at that tender age. Young Heroes will not only provide the right platform for the young talented footballers to showcase their skills but also allow them the opportunity to test their passion for the game. We at Parle Products believe in giving children free hand to explore world on their own, nurture creativity and follow their passion. Given this great fit with our Brand philosophy, we are excited to be a part of such a mammoth initiative.”

Vighnesh Shahane, CEO IDBI Federal Life Insurance, “IDBI Federal’s vision is to inspire positive change that helps people shape a better future and live their best lives. Our associations with sporting properties emerge from this vision of shaping a better tomorrow. Sports have always inspired people to develop into responsible, mature winners who make a real difference around them. The Young Heroes initiative gives school children the opportunity to showcase their talent and in the process learn the very important lessons in teamwork, dedication and the will to succeed. The coaching camps will also help the champions hone their talent further both in India and on an international platform. In its inaugural year, the inter-school tournament will identify upcoming young talent with the potential to change the landscape of Indian football. We are truly excited to be a part of this initiative."

Star Sports Young Heroes will kick start the campaign in Kolkata where matches will be played between 25th August to 26th August at the Howrah Stadium. The National Grand Finale will take place in January 2016. Young Heroes is committed to elevate the level of football at the grassroots with the intent to give birth to the football heroes of future. The tournament will see over 100 days of activation programme across the participating schools. All through the tournament, around 45 boys will get selected to undergo a training camp, after which the best 16 will be handpicked by professional coaches to go on an international exposure trip to Spain. During the activation programme Fun Quiz cards on football will be distributed to every invited school. The lucky winner from each of the 15 cities in the quiz will get the opportunity to watch an ISL game.