“Football Development Soars as AIFF-FIFA Talent Academy Opens its Doors in Odisha, Igniting Hope for Young Players across India”
Bhubaneswar, 21st November 2023 – In a groundbreaking development for football enthusiasts across India, Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the highly anticipated AIFF-FIFA Football Academy in Bhubaneswar today. This momentous event took place during the India vs Qatar encounter at Round 2 of the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027 joint qualification campaign in Kalinga Stadium. Renowned football personality, Arsene Wenger, the Chief of Global Football Development at FIFA, was present to grace the occasion.
This collaborative effort between the All India Football Federation (AIFF), FIFA, and the Government of Odisha aims to propel football development in the country to new heights. The initiative will see the selection of 50 talented players under the age of 14 from across India, including 15 players from Odisha, to receive specialized training at the AIFF-FIFA Talent Academy.
To ensure top-notch training and guidance, FIFA has appointed a skilled head coach who will spearhead the training program at the academy. Additionally, a team of experienced coaches and support staff from AIFF and the Odisha government will contribute to the holistic development of the budding footballers.
Expressing his excitement about this initiative, Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik highlighted the popularity of football in India, especially among the younger generation. He emphasized the need for proper coaching facilities to harness the immense talent in the country and expressed confidence that with the right training, India’s football team can achieve great success in the future. The Chief Minister also expressed his gratitude to FIFA, AIFF, and the government of Odisha for their collaborative efforts in establishing such academies and pledged the state’s unwavering support to football projects and initiatives, promising close collaboration with AIFF for football promotion in India.
During Mr. Wenger’s visit to the stadium, Shri VK Pandian, Chairman of 5T & Navin Odisha, and key figure in driving Odisha’s transformation, showcased the upcoming sports science center at Kalinga Stadium. Mr. Wenger was deeply impressed by the state’s commitment to sports development and lauded their efforts.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by several eminent personalities, including Sports Minister Shri Tusharkanti Behera, President of All India Football Federation, Kalyan Chaubey, Chief Secretary P K Jena, DC Anu Garg, and Sports Secretary Vineel Krishna. Their presence further exemplifies the significance of this event in the sports and football fraternity.
As the curtains raised on the AIFF-FIFA Football Academy, football enthusiasts and talent scouts nationwide eagerly await the transformative impact it will have on India’s football landscape. With the support of FIFA, AIFF, and the visionary leadership of Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik, the academy is poised to be a game-changer for young footballers, promising a brighter future for Indian football as a whole.