Udaipur : The Advisory Board members of Vedanta Hindustan Zinc-initiated Zinc Football – former Indian Football Team Captain Renedy Singh, India’s best known woman footballer Oinam Bembem Devi and veteran football administrator Shaji Prabhakaran visited the Zinc Football Academy in Zawar, Udaipur on Tuesday along with Annanya Agarwal, President of Vedanta Sports. 

During their visit, the three stalwarts of Indian Football, who were appointed as official advisors of the Zinc Football project back in June this year, said in unison that they were highly impressed with the talent, facilities and the country’s first-ever ‘technology-hinged football training’ curriculum that Zinc Football has to offer. In what was the Advisory Board’s first visit to Zinc Football, they also added that with initiatives such as Zinc Football, Rajasthan possesses extremely good young footballing talents who can not only win laurels for the state but succeed at much higher levels. 

Renedy, Bembem and Shaji engaged in an interactive session with the coaches as well as the young footballers of the Academy and were delighted to see the state-of-the-art infrastructure in Zawar, further sharing that initiatives like this would lead Rajasthan and Indian Football to greater heights in the future. 

Speaking on his visit, Renedy Singh said: “I am impressed with the infrastructure and facilities at Zinc Football Academy and it certainly has the potential to be among the best and also produce some really exciting talents for the Indian Football Team in the future. During my younger days, I never had access to such world-class turfs and facilities, and I think these young kids, with the potential that they have, should really build and work hard on this brilliant opportunity.” 

Arjuna Awardee and Padma Shri winner Bembem Devi said: “I am really happy to be part of the Zinc Football advisory board. I was excited to visit the Academy and I must applaud Hindustan Zinc for creating an excellent platform for young footballers to showcase their talent and realise the dreams. I wish everyone here all the best.” 

Shaji Prabhakaran added, “I have been to Zinc Football Academy a couple of times and I am really impressed with the progress here. The boys have recently won the Rajasthan State League while playing against much older players and I am sure they will continue to excel in the coming times. As an advisor, I will do my best to support this excellent grassroots program.” 

The excitement among the young footballers of Zinc Football was palpable as they got to see the icons from up close and interact with them. Renedy Singh, Bembem Devi and Shaji Prabhakaran emphasized upon the various facets that goes into making of a top professional footballer and shared their experiences and insights. Excitement reached fever pitch when Renedy, Bembem, Shaji and Annanya took to the field and engaged with the kids for a small-sided game.

 President of Vedanta Sports, Annanya Agarwal said: “I am really honoured to greet the three absolute icons of Indian Football. We have looked up to them as an inspiration since a long time and it is a proud feeling for us now that they will be guiding us on our roadmap. Today, it was a pleasant feeling to see them interact with our young footballers and inspire them to reach greater heights.” 

Arun Misra, Chief Executive Officer, Hindustan Zinc Ltd., said: “At Hindustan Zinc, we are committed to Zinc Football as it aims to usher in a footballing revolution in the state of Rajasthan. We are glad to have such icons of the sport in Renedy, Bembem and Shaji as our advisors for the Zinc Football project and it was a great experience talking to the legends about their experiences and their feedback for our initiative, which will definitely go a long way in helping us to achieve our goals as we aim to take the Zinc Football initiative to the next level.” 

Zinc Football is an initiative of Vedanta Hindustan Zinc to usher in a footballing revolution in Rajasthan. It is a one-of-its-kind grassroots development programme with technology and data analysis at its core at Zawar near Udaipur, Rajasthan. The programme is using football as a tool for social and community development and ensuring young boys and girls have a platform to express themselves through football.

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