Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri on Saturday lamented that he did not have access to top-class facilities during his growing days but felt the situation has been changing in the country.
Chhetri, during a visit to the Zinc Football Academy at Zawar, Udaipur, said he was delighted to see a world-class infrastructure here. He said initiatives like this would take Rajasthan and Indian football to greater heights in the future.
"I have seen a football academy for the first time in Rajasthan and I'm really happy to see a state-of-the-art infrastructure here. Initiatives like Zinc Football, with the kind of world-class infrastructure, will help uplift the cause of Indian football in the coming years," he said.
"I wish I had access to infrastructure and facilities like this while growing up. With the right guidance, I am sure the kids here can go a long way not only within Rajasthan but at the national level as well."
To help grassroots development in the country and take Indian football to the next level, Hindustan Zinc, a Vedanta Group company, initiated the Zinc Football programme as part of their social investment programme.
At the core of the programme is a full-fledged residential academy with 40 of the best under-15 footballers who have been scouted from among over 5000 children.
Chhetri emphasized upon the various facets that had gone into the making of a top professional footballer and shared his experiences with the kids who were excited to have the star footballer among them. Chhetri also took the field to play a short game with the kids.
President of Vedanta Football, Annanya Agarwal, said, "We could not have been happier to host Indian football's superstar Sunil Chhetri. His achievements and what he has done on the pitch is there for everyone to see.
"It was extremely gratifying to see him interact with our young footballers and inspire them to reach greater heights. As a group, Vedanta is focussed on building a development model for grassroots football in the country and identify and cultivate footballing talent, roping in icons such as Sunil Chhetri in the process."