This church also creaks the future football stars of India

Akesh T Is Warming Up Before Practice. As Son Of A Fisherman From Poovar In Thiruvananthapuram District, Class IX Student Has Been In The News After Participating At National Level Football Tournaments For Some Years. He Is One Of The Talents Who Is Fed By The Little Flower Football Academy (LiFFA) Here. It Has Changed Its Life.

It's been almost 150 years since Christian denominations shrugged off puritanical inhibitions about competitive sports like Football and started founding clubs across Europe. Now, the Catholic Church in India has started a full-fledged Football academy, tapping the talent of youngsters in a community where Football is a "second religion". The Church's archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram has around 80 fishing hamlets spread across a 70-75 km coastal stretch - from Eraimanthura in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu to Anchuthengu in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala - under it where "natural Football ers" are identified and nurtured.

The academy being established could script history for Indian Football in a big way. Though the Church had launched LiFFA with the first batch of 25 boys and basic facilities in 2015, the latest decision to have a full-fledged academy with its own land and required infrastructure holds immense promise.

It ' S Is The First Of Its Kind In The Country Initiated By Any Church, And In The Near Future The Academy Will Also Be Able To Accommodate Boys From Other Communities, Said Fr Thomas Netto, Director Of LiFFA. The Academy Also Strives For A Level Of Self-discipline Among Children In The Community, Where Poor Backgrounds And Adverse Conditions Can Cause Them To Get Astray.

Akesh was in the first batch in 2015. "LiFFA has come as a blessing for students in coastal villages who love playing Football . Now, focused both in Football and in our studies, we are leading a disciplined life. I have started dreaming about wearing the Indian jersey," he said.

The Thiruvananthapuram Bishop ' S House, Excited By The Way LiFFA Boys Dribbled In Less Than 14 National And Provincial Parties, Except In Youth League Teams Over The Last Four Years, Has Declared To Be Ready To Provide Suitable Land Between 8 And 8 And 10 Hectares Already Identified At Two Locations. It Is Now The Task Of LiFFA Management ' S To Raise Funds To Establish All Facilities.

"We will be launching a fundraising campaign after the LiFFA Cup-19, the biennial all-India youth Football tournament to be held at from April 29 to May 8," said head coach and technical director Cleofas Alex, who quit his post of a college assistant professor in physical education to take up the task.

The Academy Currently Only Collects Students From The Community Below The Church That Lives In The Coastal Strip. Our Goal Was To Give These Highly Talented Boys A Scientific Training And To Give Them The Necessary Status At State And National Level. Said Net.

Ajin A, a class IX student from the Pulluvila fishing village, was a part of the LiFFA U-14 team that represented Kerala in the last Subroto Cup. "Football was just a pastime for me before coming to LiFFA. The academy taught me what real Football is. We're getting the required exposure to have a good career in Football . Playing in the was a dreamlike experience," he said.

Now Six Boys Are U-14 National Players, 30 Have Played For The State And 14 Are Signed By Youth I-League Teams. Winning 95% Of The Tournaments In Which They Participated, The LiFFA U-14 Team Emerged As State Champion And Represented Kerala In The Final Subroto Cup. There Are A Few Among Them Of Families Affected By. The Academy Has Greatly Helped Them Overcome The Trauma And Return To Their Normal Self, Said Fr Christudas Philip, Deputy Director Of LiFFA.

Along the coast, divided into four zones, there is at least one Football club, school and library in every parish. "The Church's wide network makes communication easy," Alex said.

In Two Batches Now 41 Boys Are Training On The Terrain Of St Vincent ' S High School In Kaniyapuram Among A Technical Team Of Six Members. Discussions Are On For Reserving Five Slots (Of The Total Of 25 In Alternative Years) For Those From Other Communities. Selection Is A Process Of A Year, Starting With The First Short List Of 300 Boys Through A Tournament, Alex Said.