Mission XI Million to spot football talent kicked off in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Promising an exciting sporting experience for the school kids of the State and also identifying talent, the Mission XI Million (MXIM) football festival kicked off at the Kalinga Stadium here on Tuesday.

The event mainly aims at preparing kids for the upcoming 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup that will be held in India for the first time.

Hosted by the Union Sports and Youth Services ministry in partnership with Football Federation of India, the event witnessed more than 1,000 kids from schools across Odisha participating in small-sided games, fun activities and skills workshops throughout the day.

Footballer Shradhanjali Samantray, former captain of the Indian women’s national football team, kicked off the event. State Sports Minister Chandra Sarathi Behera and Sports Secretary Vishal Kumar Dev were also present on the occasion.

“Football is a popular sport in the country and much loved in the state of Odisha. The interest that Mission XI Million programme has generated has been outstanding so far,” said Behera.

Joy Bhattacharjya, project director of local organising committee, 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, said, “The dream to reach out to 11 million kids in the country through the beautiful game, slowly seems to be coming true.”

Mission XI Million, the school-contact programme, had started across the country in February this year will reach Guwahati and Lucknow later this month.