Bhubaneswar: In yet another significant development for the sports ecosystem in Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today inaugurated three Football Training Centres here ahead of the upcoming Intercontinental Cup 2023, thus marking the establishment of Odisha Football Academy, Bhubaneswar Football Academy and Capital Arena Football.
Adding to the significance and grandeur of the occasion, the Indian Men’s Football Teamwork including Team Captain Sunil Chhetri was also present to welcome a new era of football in Odisha.
The visionary initiative was developed at a cost of Rs 90 crore and features a total of six FIFA certified pitches, including five natural and one synthetic football ground, LED flood lights, players changing room, gallery, gym, coach room and other amenities.
The three centres are situated at the heart of the city and are at close vicinity to each other thus giving an added advantage to players and multiple teams to train simultaneously especially during tournaments.
Speaking on the inauguration, the Chief Minister said, “It is a great pleasure and pride to inaugurate the Odisha Football Academy, the Bhubaneswar Football Academy and the Capital Football Arena. These sports infrastructures mark a significant milestone in the development of football in Odisha. They will provide world class training ground for football. With their launch, we aim to strengthen the football ecosystem and provide a nurturing environment for aspiring footballers to grow and flourish.”
These facilities are equipped with top-notch facilities ensuring that athletes receive the best training and support to enhance their skills. These infrastructures reflect our commitment to promoting sports and nurturing talent in Odisha. I believe that these new facilities will not only encourage the youth to pursue their passion for football but also serve as a hub for Football training in the country, he added.
Chief Minister Patnaik announced that Girls’ Football Academy with artificial turf will be constructed at Aul in Kendrapada district. Recently, Secretary to CM 5T VK Pandian had visited Aul and discussed with football players in this regard.
There is a lot of passion for football in the State. Hence, grassroots level training program will be introduced for 6 to 12-year old kids at the three academies to encourage young kids from the State to take up football. Referee Education program and Coaches Education program will also be conducted here periodically.
The three centres will be training ground for National U-16 and U-19 National team, Odisha FC’s (Men, Women and Youth) and all State teams (both men and women). Training sessions of U-13, U-15, and U-18 state academies will be held here. The centres will also be venue for State Leagues including FAO League, Odisha Women’s League, School Leagues and tournaments, local leagues thus promoting an all-round conducive environment for the growth and popularity of football.
The football centres are key components of a robust football ecosystem in Odisha that places great emphasis on competition, coaching and infrastructure. The top-quality infrastructure will be on display for the world to see in the upcoming Intercontinental Cup 2023, that will feature; India, Lebanon, Mongolia and Vanuatu. The tournament commences on June 9th, with Lebanon taking on Vanuatu, while the home team India will take on Mongolia in their first game of the campaign.
Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera, Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena, Development Commissioner Anu Garg, 5T Secretary VK Pandian, Sports Secretary R Veneel Krishna among others were present at the function.