Coca Cola India Felicitates 16 Young & Promising Footballers
Adding to the fervor of the FIFA World Cup TM 2010, Coca-Cola India today felicitated the 16 young and promising footballers identified from the Coca-Cola Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy (MIHT) 2009. The tournament was organized in association with All India Football Federation (AIFF) to uncover the most dynamic young footballers in the country. As part of the same initiative, the 16 selected players are all set to fly to South Africa to participate in the ‘Coca-Cola International 2010 Football Camp’ being organized from 15th to 20th June, 2010. A special felicitation ceremony cum send off event was organized which was attended by Subrata Paul, Goalkeeper, Indian Team and Player of the Year 2009, Manoranjan Bhattacharya, Former India Football Team Player, I.M Vijayan, Former India Football Team Captain, Jo Paul Ancheri, Former India Football Player, Alberto Colaco, General Secretary, AlI India Football Federation (AIFF) and Atul Singh, President and CEO, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia.
As a part of the Coca-Cola International 2010 Football Camp, the 16 players will also be participating in a competitive tournament which would include young footballers from countries such as Egypt, Mexico, Russian, Turkey, Vietnam and Guatemala. Additionally, the 16 promising footballers from India would also get once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch the FIFA World Cup TM 2010 match LIVE between South Africa and Uruguay on June 16th, 2010.
Speaking at the occasion, Alberto Colaco, General Secretary, AlI India Football Federation (AIFF) said, “We are delighted to have Coca-Cola India as our partners for The Coca-Cola Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy and want to thank them for their support in making this grass root football tournament a big success. This partnership for football in India will not just encourage young football talent in the country but also play a key role in encouraging youngsters to adopt football as their preferred sport. I would also like to congratulate the 16 selected players and wish them all the best for participating in the Coca-Cola International 2010 Football Camp in South Africa”.
According to Atul Singh, President & CEO, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia, “Coca-Cola India has always believed in promoting a healthy, active lifestyle through sports. Our partnership with All India Football Federation (AIFF) is an extension of the Company’s worldwide focus on football. The Coca-Cola Company has been the official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup™ that began in 1978. We are very happy to send these 16 young and talented footballers to attend The Coca-Cola International 2010 Football Camp in South Africa during the FIFA World Cup TM. We believe that Indian football has all the potential to make a mark on the global football map. However, the need is to tap budding talent and nurture them well to bring them up to the international standards”.
Adding further, Atul said, “For 2010, plans are being drawn to scale up Coca-Cola Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy to 75 cities tapping over 40,000 young footballers from 1500 schools. The thought is to promote football at the grassroot level in India and also to make sports a way of life in the country.”
Selection Process : As part of the Coca-Cola Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy 2009, 60 promising young footballers were identified and short-listed by AIFF to be subsequently coached and groomed to form the National Under-16 Sub-junior Team. Out of these 60 young footballers, 16 most promising players are now scheduled to attend The Coca-Cola International Football Camp at Tuks Village in Pretoria, South Africa.
The entire talent selection process was supervised by the technical team of AIFF, under the leadership of Colm Toal, Technical Director, AIFF. All the 6000 participating footballers were evaluated by AIFF on the basis of Physical, Technical, Tactical, Mental parameters. The selection process also took into account various skills, like ball handling, passing, kicking etc. Since its inception, Coca-Cola MIHT 2009 tournament drew its maximum participation. It involved over 6000 young footballers, from 1000 schools in over 400 districts, across 31 states.
About Coca-Cola Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy : Coca-Cola Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy, an annual grass root level football tournament is organized by AIFF since 1977. The tournament is open to all young footballers in the age group of 12-15 years. The initiative aims to discover budding football talent in the country and prepare a strong team for the under-16 Indian Football team for 2010. The tournament is played in the following format:
Stage I (District & State Level) : Various District Football Associations organized a competition or skill trial among talented football players in the age group 12-15 years. District level teams then competed within their state, where the State Football Association selected a team to represent the state at the Regional level. Four regional rounds were then held.
Stage II (Zonal Level) : 31 state teams competed with each other across 4 zones– (a) North East, (b) South & West, (c) East & (d) North. Top 2 teams from each zone then advanced to the national level.
Stage III (National Level) : Ten teams from the zonal level qualified for the national level played at Tau Devi Lal Stadium (Gurgaon), Haryana from the 9th – 22nd December 2009. The 10 qualifying teams included – Tripura & Meghalaya from North East, Karnataka & Maharashtra from South & West, Jharkhand and Bihar from East & Uttar Pradesh and Delhi from North. Apart from these 8 teams, host state Haryana & 2008 winner (Mizoram) were the two additional teams playing at the national level. In the end, teams from Karnataka and Jharkhand played the National Finals on 22nd Dec ’09. Jharkhand team from the East Zone won the national finals of the ‘Coca-Cola Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy’ 2009.
FIFA World CupTM Trophy Tour Celebrations In India : On 15th January, 2010, Kolkata played host to the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour, 2010. The trophy tour sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company involved taking the real solid-gold trophy to 83 countries, allowing thousands of fans to enjoy a rare close-up view of the authentic FIFA World Cup Trophy. The trophy travelled 138,902 kilometers (86,3044 miles) and provided all the Football fans with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy before the tournament kicks off in South Africa on June 11, 2010.
The authentic FIFA World Cup™ Trophy was brought to India for the first time. It is made of solid 18-carat gold, has a height of 36.8 cm and weighs 6,175 grams. The base contains two layers of semi-precious malachite while the bottom side of the Trophy bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974.
The India leg of the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour, 2010 involved an exclusive showcase of the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy at the Salt Lake Stadium on 16th January ’10 essaying the extraordinary journey of the world’s greatest football spectacle. Additionally, on 17th January’10 at the stadium, German Football legend Lothar Mathhaus lifted the original Coca-Cola FIFA World Cup™ Trophy once again, reminding his fans in Kolkata about Germany’s historic World Cup win in 1990.
The Coca-Cola Company’s Association With FIFA World Cup™ : Coca-Cola has been the official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup™ that began in 1978. To its credit, the company has had stadium advertising rights at every FIFA World Cup™ since 1950, now the same has been extended for another 16 years i.e. until 2022. The Coca-Cola Company is thus a long-time supporter of football at all levels, from grassroots to the FIFA World Cup™.