The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC)’s ‘Generation Amazing’ programme has inaugurated two new football pitches in India this month, “marking further milestones for the human and social legacy programme” as the 30th pitch was inaugurated.
The newly opened facilities for youth are located in Colaba Causeway, Mumbai, and Dr Ambedkar School in Kamptee, Nagpur, with the purpose of creating a safe space in which the GA football for development programmes can operate locally for young girls and boys, according to a press statement.
At the pitch launch ceremonies held at the Sabina Chandrashekar Memorial Municipal Garden and Playground in Mumbai, and Khatija Bai School in Nagpur, officials gathered alongside ‘Generation Amazing’ programme participants and members of the community.
Saif bin Ali al-Mohannadi, Qatar’s consul-general in Mumbai, attended the Mumbai pitch opening and praised the programme’s efforts in India as well as its achievement of positively impacting 500,000 people across Asia and the Middle East, saying: “It has been fantastic to witness the pitch from the start of construction all the way to completion here in Mumbai, I am proud and excited to see first-hand the invaluable work that Generation Amazing is doing to leave a lasting legacy for Qatar 2022 across the entire continent.
“Since Xavi Hernandez came here in March to inaugurate the pitch construction, I have been following the local community and the many young people that the programme is reaching through football for development to give them better opportunities for their future.”
On hand to inaugurate the pitches was GA’s Communications and Marketing director Moza al-Mohannadi, who spoke about Generation Amazing’s long-term plans to provide youth with hubs to learn and develop through football: “We are proud that this pitch is a real tangible legacy of Qatar 2022 right here in India, and are looking forward to helping change and improve the lives of many more young people until 2022 and beyond.”
Al-Mohannadi went on to reflect on Generation Amazing’s successful partnership with Oscar Foundation and streetfootballworld in developing the pitch in Mumbai, before sharing some heartfelt words and messages of encouragement with young participants: “You the youth are the most important part of our ‘Generation Amazing’ programme, and we believe and trust that this new pitch, and the programmes delivered on it, will be a vital part of you becoming leaders and game-changers for your community.”
One of those who was visibly moved at the launch of the pitch was 22-year-old ‘Generation Amazing’ ambassador Shraddha Aher, who was also appointed MC for the kick-off ceremony in Mumbai, welcoming guests in a guard of honour-style reception with drumming and music to begin the celebrations.
Shraddha, who has been invited to participate in the 2019 Generation Amazing Festival in Doha starting from December 15 with fellow GA ambassador Baburav Modhale, also works with Mumbai-based non-government football organisation Oscar Foundation, which has been integral in helping extend the ‘Generation Amazing’ programme to underprivileged communities in India.
At the Mumbai ceremony, young beneficiaries Poonam Gautam and Umesh Rathod spoke about their experiences as ‘Generation Amazing’ participants, with 19-year-old female footballer Poonam expressing how the programme has given her community a greater sense of rights for girls in football.
Umesh, 15, has also come a long way with the programme, first receiving a special visit from his ‘Generation Amazing’ ambassador Xavi during the inauguration of the construction of the Mumbai pitch earlier this year, and was present as the pitch was completed.
“Barcelona legend Xavi Hern?ndez visited my house. He was very loving and kind with me. In our community, we don’t have enough space to play football. We are thankful to ‘Generation Amazing’ that they have given us this turf to play. I cannot wait to go in and play football.”
For the school pitch opening in Nagpur, Generation Amazing partnered with local football for development programme Slum Soccer.
The ceremony was attended by 300 school students as well as the founder of Slum Soccer, Dr Vijay Barse. GA youth ambassador Shubham Patil shared with his local community, at the pitch opening, his experience of speaking about his own football journey at the recent WISE 2019 event in Doha. As an active football for development coach, Shubham highlighted the impact the pitch will make, saying: “The value of this pitch on the young people here will play an important part of their lives, as football has for mine.”
This month, the ‘Generation Amazing’ programme will launch its first-ever festival in Doha at the Qatar Foundation Oxygen Park from December 15-19, with GA’s India-based Youth Ambassadors present for the event.
The programme has had an eventful month in the lead-up to the pitch openings, having participated in football for development training for children, talks and panels during Doha Learning Days and WISE 2019.
During the ongoing Arabian Gulf Cup in Qatar, the programme has organised football for development activities and engagements for kids and child mascot appearances for local and regional schoolchildren.