Fast Football Club of Gurgaon has launched a project named Koshish, under which 50 budding footballers from the underprivileged sections of society will be given five years of training to become professional footballers. In the past two months, the club members have been scouring the city's slums, and coordinating with NGOs and government-run schools for talent below 10 years of age to participate in the under-14 and under-16 categories.
The selected children will be trained thrice a week. The club will give them the infrastructure, the equipment, the shoes and refreshments during training sessions.
Koshish was the brainchild of Deepak Jha, head sports coach of Scottish High International School in Sector 57. "We want the selected kids to become world-class footballers," said Jha. "Residents of Sector 56 and nearby societies, and Mahesh Dayma, local councillor, helped us in this cause. V-Mart Chairman Lalit Aggarwal’s son attends football coaching at our club, and it was generous of him to come forward and donate to our cause too. All the selected kids will be below 10 years of age. We will train them for under-14 tournaments and, based on performance, for the under-16 category. The next step will be national-level matches."
Jha said that if the children were unable to make it to the national level, they would still have the option to become sports coaches in schools and sports academies. "My assistant, Deependra Kumar, was 9 and washing cars in Delhi when I first met him," said Jha. "I took him under my wing and trained him. Now he is doing well in life. I, too, come from a humble background and have struggled a lot in my childhood. The gap between rich and poor is growing larger with time and I believe we must try and do something to empower the weaker sections of society to reduce this."