AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: The Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, has been an avid follower of sports in the country. On Sunday, July 30, 2023, the Hon’ble PM took to his monthly platform, Mann Ki Baat, to spread the message of football, more specifically, that of a small town in Madhya Pradesh’s Shahdol district, called Bicharpur, that has transformed itself from a hotbed of illicit liquor and narcotics to a “Mini Brazil”.
The Hon’ble PM said on Mann Ki Baat, “This is the Inspiring Journey of Mini Brazil. You must be thinking that from where Mini Brazil came in Madhya Pradesh, well, that is the twist. In MP, Bicharpur is a village in Shahdol. Bicharpur is called Mini Brazil. ‘Mini Brazil’, since, today this village has become a stronghold of the rising stars of football. When I had gone to Shahdol a few weeks ago, I met many such football players there. I felt that our countrymen and especially our young friends must know about this.
“The journey of Bicharpur village to become Mini Brazil commenced two-and-a-half decades ago. During that time, Bicharpur village was infamous for illicit liquor. it was in the grip of intoxication. The biggest brunt of this kind of environment was being borne by the youth here,” he further said.
It was in fact, the beautiful game, that helped the village haul itself out of its miserable state, helped by Raees Ahmed, a former footballer, and a coach.
“Raees Ahmed recognised the talent of these youngsters. Raees ji did not have many resources, but he started teaching football to the youth with full dedication. Within a few years, football became so popular that Bicharpur village itself was identified with football,” said the PM. “Now a programme called Football Kranti is also going on here. Under this programme, youth are connected with this game and they are given training. This programme has been so successful that more than 40 national and state-level players have emerged from Bicharpur.”
Now, with the Football Kranti programme is on in full swing, more than 1,200 clubs have formed in the Shahdol district.
“This football revolution is now slowly spreading in the entire region. More than 1200 football clubs have been formed in Shahdol and its surrounding areas. A large number of players have emerged from here, who are playing at the national level. Today, many noted former football players and coaches are imparting training to the youth here. Just imagine a tribal area which was known for illicit liquor, infamous for drug addiction, has now become the Football Nursery of the country,” said the PM. “That's why it is said – where there is a will, there is a way. There is no dearth of talent in our country. There is certainly a need to find and nurture them. Subsequently, these youth also bring laurels to the country and lend direction to the development of the country as well.”
Madhya Pradesh Football Association Honorary Secretary Mr Amit Dev said, “The PM’s words have come as a great boost for Madhya Pradesh football and the sport in general. We are grateful to him for his encouraging speech. The village of Bicharpur has done a great job in promoting the game. We will work harder to take the game ahead with this initiative.”