TODAY -

Tata Trusts : Enabling youngsters achieve their goal !

Chanini Lokho *



The Tata Trusts UDream Football programme is a one-of-a-kind learning and development programme that offers talented young children a unique opportunity to pursue a career in football and gain recognition not only at home, but also on the global stage. The programme also lays equal emphasis on the academic development of young athletes and an opportunity to pursue higher studies at a German university or institution, helping them find the right balance between sports and education.

The North Eastern Region of India has the maximum number of football players in the country. However, with the lack of quality grassroots programmes, growth of talent suffers owing to lack of opportunities for playing against quality teams. The absence of professionally trained football coaches in India also acts to stunt progress. Just as there is a need for talent development programs, there is an equal need for a program that aids the development of coaches, giving them opportunities to enhance their skills and exposure.

Tata Trusts UDream Football recognizes this gap and the need for programs that will nurture this talent to help youngsters grow into professional football players. The programme aims to address the following aspects related to –

(1) the need for an international training programme
(2) the need to start at a young age
(3) the need for a programme that lays equal focus on football and academics

This year, Tata Trusts UDream Football has chosen 35 of the region’s finest U-15 footballers who will sail to train in Germany for a period of up to 6 years, with a scholarship covering the entire cost of training, education, lodging and boarding. This year marks the second year of the programme with young boys being sent to Germany under Tata Trusts UDream Football.

In Germany, the boys will train at the world class facilities in Bitburg, under a professional coaching team comprising of 4 German coaches and 4 Indian coaches, including ex-India captain Mahesh Gawli, who leads the coaching team on behalf of the Indian team. In addition to training, the boys will regularly play friendly and competitive games against local teams in their age groups in Germany and tour the rest of the European Region. In an endeavour to promote football in India Tata Trusts UDream Football has designed a 3 tier approach to develop the programme.

1) Establishing a solid grassroots programme:

o Setting up of around 100 Grassroots Football Academies in Manipur. Meghalaya and Bodoland, and imparting professional training to children in the age group of 6-14 years. Strengthening the existing programme of development of 60 grassroots level football academies in Mizoram.

o Constituting Sport Management Committee (SMC) at the Academy level, District Level SMC and 1 State level SMC.

Tata Trusts is already supporting grassroots level football in Mizoram with the Government of Mizoram through Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan (SSA), working with 3000 school children.

2) Creating Centres of Excellence:

The Centre of Excellence would mirror the international training programme outlined above, mentored and delivered by world class trainers and coaches, both German and Indian with an underlying emphasis on academics, quality infrastructure, opportunity to compete against both Indian and international teams in similar age group etc.

Aizwal (Mizoram) will have the first Centre of Excellence (CoE) and will house 20 children each from the 7th and 8th grades respectively. In addition to football, the centre will give equal importance to academics in order to facilitate a smooth transition for the players in their post retirement stages of their lives. Imphal (Manjpur) will have the second CoE and will be the mirror image of the centre in Aizawl.

3) Scholarship:

Every year a scholarship will be provided to promising young children, who will be sent to Germany for training. This scholarship will cover their entire cost of training, lodging and boarding. Initially, these scholarships will be directly provided to these children or with the help of CML, Guwahati and NEIDA, Kohima (Associate Organisations of Tata Trusts).

Tata Trusts UDream Football will develop training modules of global standard and assist in scouting for talent and sourcing credible football coaches from overseas. The programme also builds linkages with the feeder programs to the Bundesliga, initially with the Hoffenheim team in Germany. It will search for talent at the grassroots level and help in training them at the Centre of Excellence.

About Tata Trusts:

Tata Trusts is amongst India’s oldest, non-sectarian philanthropic organizations, which has played a pioneering role in enhancing the quality of life of the people and communities it seeks to help. Guided by the principles of its founder, Jamsetji Tata and through his vision of proactive philanthropy, Tata Trusts catalyze societal development.

Transforming itself into a modern philanthropic organization, Tata Trusts has ensured its Initiatives and interventions have a contemporary relevance to the nation through its focus on the areas of education; healthcare and nutrition; rural livelihoods; technology, natural resources management; enhancing civil society and governance, media, arts, crafts and culture. Through collaborations with government bodies, international agencies and like-minded private sector organizations, Tata Trusts has strengthened its contribution to the developmental landscape of the country to nurture a self-sustaining eco-system that collectively works across all these areas.

About UDream Football:

UDream Football is an international football training programme initiated in 2015 offering young talented Indian footballers a unique opportunity to pursue a career as a professional footballer. Founded by U Sports, UDream Football was launched in 2015, under the collaborative guidance of Bundesliga Club TSG 1899 Hoffenhiem and DFB (German Football Association) to build a deep seeded foundation for the radical development and transformation of Indian footballers and Indian Football. (The writer is the Senior Programme Manager, Skill & Enterprises Promotion, Tata Trusts)


* Chanini Lokho wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on August 16, 2016.


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