Football in Goa has seen a resurgence in the past few years. What was once one of the cultural hubs for football in the country saw a slight dip in its footballing discourse following the loss of prominence of the I-League and gradual decline of its traditional legacy clubs. However, with the emergence of FC Goa as one of the foremost teams in the Indian Super League (ISL), Goa is back on the footballing map in a major way. While grassroots development is something that has been deeply ingrained in Goa’s culture, the Gaurs’ efforts towards revitalizing it and adding to it a structured approach has gone a long way in helping more and more young talents come through. And now FC Goa President Akshay Tandon, in a series of tweets, has outlined how he envisions Goa’s own world-class football academy.
With sustainability as the buzzword, Tandon’s vision is that of a self-sufficient ecosystem which would help budding footballers receive their footballing education in conjunction with their holistic mental and physical growth. While he has identified the need for an international school within the premises, he is also accommodating of an onsite farming area where youngsters can learn about nutrition and its importance in the life of an athlete. Furthermore, Tandon goes on to throw light on how bamboo can be used as one of the main construction materials while the site can be ‘grown using permaculture principles’. He also elucidates on the idea of converting the entire campus into a rainwater harvesting engine using the inherent laterite deposits that are found in abundance in Goa as well as using solar energy.
While the immediate plausibility of this project in a post-Covid world is slightly questionable, Tandon admits that he did intend to go to Europe last year in search of investors. However, the pandemic foiled those plans. But with FC Goa participating in the AFC Champions League later this year, a good showing there might give them the leverage to carry out something on these lines with outside help. Moreover, with Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) and Star India’s 10-year ownership of the ISL ending in a few years’ time, who knows what could be achieved with newer channels of revenue in the form of broadcasting rights and greater sponsorship money.