New Delhi: Sixty-four schools are taking part in this edition of the Subroto Cup, India's only national school level football tournament. As always the teams from the Northeast are being tipped to win the big prizes, clearly they have a natural flair for the game. "Football is a part of our culture. In Sikkim, you find guys playing football everywhere," says Suren Chettry, coach, Sikkim team. "You see their control over the ball is amazing. They can read the opponent well and have a great team spirit," says Col Rajeev S Chauhan, coach, Mizoram NCC team. Rigid testing The dominance of the boys from the Northeast is not anything new but what is new at this year's edition of the Subroto Cup is some rigid testing to eliminate age fraud. "Earlier the boys used to question on being eliminated. Now the X-ray done is convincing enough for them as well as for other people," says Wing Com Rahul Pathak, Organiser, Subroto Cup. Age fraud is a huge problem in Indian sport, one which explains why Indian junior teams always produce better results than the seniors. Problem persists Tushar Dev, who manages a Delhi based football team and runs a youth training programme, has been at loggerheads with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) over the issue of age testing. "Age verification is important because they cheat for two reasons firstly, to get a job and secondly for sporting success. The examples in cricket are far too many," he says. The refusal of the AIFF to get involved means that the problem still persists. The AIFF should ideally be maintaining a database where all the information on the age of the junior players is stored. Hopefully now that the AIFF has sorted out the issue of television rights, they will have more time to focus on these issues.
Topics : Football