Mizoram Football Association and Reliance Foundation, the CSR arm of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), kicked off the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) Naupang League in Mizoram in November 2022. The opening weekends in Aizwal and Champai witnessed over 1300 girls and boys playing enthusiastically and celebrating their love for football.
The Naupang League aims to develop local ecosystems and enable aspiring and talented footballers as young as 5 year-olds both boys and girls to gain competitive and practice exposure. Additionally, allowing more kids to participate and play consistently through the year and build India's grassroots football talent.
Coach Lalthatluanga of Ramhlun Veng U-13 team said "We practice very hard for the Naupang League. We start practice 6 am for 3 hours where the children train hard, work on their fitness, and also study games to learn more and play better. We are very happy that the Reliance Foundation Young Champs Naupang League is happening here, as it is the first time and everyone is excited by it. Reliance Foundation has offered us all the necessary requirements to play and the kids are now looking forward to train hard and playing next weekend."
Lalhrechianga, father of Ngurhlunchhungi, an U-11 girl who plays for Chawmpui Veng, "My daughter has been playing since she has been a little girl, and I am very happy to see her play in the Naupang League. I am very glad that the Reliance Foundation Young Champs Naupang League is happening and for us, who have grown up in a village, opportunities like the Naupang league are very good and helps my daughter become a better player. She wants to play as much, and whether playing against boys or girls, as long as she is competing, we are glad."
The RFYC Naupang (Children) League is being hosted in 4 locations in Mizoram with 2 models of the league structure. The Mizoram FA and District FAs are hosting the leagues in Lunglei and Kolasib, enabled by RFYC, while 2 Leagues in Aizawl and Champhai are operated by Reliance Foundation Young Champs.
The age categories begin at Under-5 and continue until Under-13 years with multiple game formats. A minimum of 30 games will be played by each participant. The 4 leagues set to run parallel from November till June 2023.
The initiative is part of Reliance Foundation's larger initiative to grow football in the region. RF Youth Sports (RFYS), a school and college sports development program has been running in Mizoram since 2017 and provides a platform for young athletes to build a career in the sport by creating opportunities for players to be scouted by the professional football clubs.
In the ongoing 2022 season of RFYS, more than 2000 school and college children are participating in football leagues in Aizawl, Champhai, Lunglei and Kolasib.