Future structure of Youth Leagues: (12 -19 years)
One of the gaps analysed from the Master Plan is the lack of Youth Competition in all the States.
A few States compensate this lack by organising regular ‘Festivals’ for the various age groups. However, these initiatives depend on personal initiatives, private Academies, School Associations, sponsoring, availability of facilities, etc. It’s hard for the Coaches to prepare their Teams.
Players do not have a goal to prepare for and most of all are restricted from a weekly measurement of their skills and progress. If the State Associations and the Clubs are not able to solve the crisis, ie the lack of Competition, India will never be able to close the gap between further developed countries in Asia like Japan, Korea, China, Uzbekistan or Australia.
Worldwide the gap is even bigger, as countries in Europe start Competitions with children from 8 years and older. A talented Player in Europe or South America plays 50 to 60 competitive matches a year, while a player in India plays around 10 competitive matches. It’s only when an Indian Player is selected for a National Team, he gets to play around 16 – 20 Competitive Matches in a year.
The solution is a Competition Model for each State Association. This Model must provide a pyramid system in which the ‘Best Play The Best’ and should start with players from 12 year onwards.
The AIFF Model will start with the appointment of a Technical Director (TD), Development Officer (DO) and Scout.
The TD and the DO together with the State Association’s Technical Committee must develop a strategic plan which suits the State. Each State faces different climates, different distances, different cultures and different structures but they all must work together with the local governments, local sport authorities and local Clubs to develop a suitable year round Competition Model.
The best way to do this could be to divide the State into Zones. Each Zone must start with a Competition for 12-14- year old (C-Youth Teams), 14-16 year old (B-Youth Teams) and 16 -19 year old (A-Youth Teams).
The winners of the Zones would play for the State Championship and the State Champions play for National Championship.