India's northeast region which has produced accomplished sportspersons like M.C. Mary Kom, Baichung Bhutia and L. Sarita Devi are determined to provide everything needed to train their budding players for national and international competitions.
With the government's support, Shillong organised various championship and tournaments to nurture and groom footballing talents hidden in the city and villages.
Other than the government, coaches of local football teams also put their best effort by providing strict training to the young footballers.
"Now we are preparing for Shillong Football League for the senior team which is going to happen soon. We practice every Saturday and I am training the players like this time we are participating in the Under 18 I league too. We have to put efforts and prepare very well," said Arky, a football coach of Randajit football team.
Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex, Shillong is one of the most equipped training sites for a large number of budding players. With the growing trend of sports as a profession, more and more youngsters come to the complex after attending school for training and becoming a professional sportsperson.
"I have been practising from the last two years and apart from studying, I come here to practice and also got selected in Baichung Bhutia's team. My parents support me a lot and I also get support from the sports club in my village. Recently, I participated in a tournament in New Delhi and we won. Besides that, we won the finals of Delhi Q league. Gradually, I started developing an interest in football as I saw our boys in the lane playing football," said Michael, under-18 Player, Shillong.
Moreover, to encourage young players and instill competitive nature in them, Meghalaya Football Association organised the Meghalaya Baby League that caught the attention of one and all.
Local clubs like Shillong Lijong FC have junior chapters, these initiatives give opportunities to budding footballers to play professionally and hone their talents.
The growing football culture in India has encouraged youngsters to take up the sport. Enthusiastic fans, excellent performances by the national team and the launch of various leagues across the country have given Indian football a new identity, in light of such events, it's great to see changes at the grassroots level.
(With inputs from ANI)