Mission XI Million, the legacy programme of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, reached another milestone by reaching out to one million children.
A Government of India and AIFF initiative, this pioneering programme reached the milestone in Gangtok, Sikkim, also the land of Indian football legend Bhaichung Bhutia.
The one millionth child from the programme, Shrijna Subba, a student of Deorali Government Secondary School, Tadong, was given a memento at the MXIM seminar held in Gangtok. Present on the occasion were former India National Team captain Bhaichung Bhutia; Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee, FIFA U17 World Cup India 2017, Mr Javier Ceppi; Sikkim Football Association President, Mr. B.K. Roka and General Secretary, Sikkim Football Association, Mr Menla Ethenpa.
Speaking about the event, President of the All India Football Federation, Praful Patel expressed his delight at the initiative reaching one million children. He said, “This is a moment of absolute joy for us. Reaching one million kids that have been engaged with football in the country is a massive milestone. Mission XI Million is really transforming football in India, and a testament of that is that the one millionth kid is a girl that comes from a government school from one of the corners of the country. The revolution of football is happening in India through MXIM and having reached one million kids is a very evident sign of it”.
Mission XI Million aims to take the beautiful game of football to at least 11 million boys and girls across the length and breadth of the country before the FIFA U-17 World Cup begins in October later this year. Recently, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Vijay Goel undertook a mass football distribution drive at the Parliament, to encourage Members of Parliament to promote the beautiful game of football in their respective constituencies. Under his aegis, Mission XI Million has taken massive strides over the past few months and the ‘one millionth kid milestone’ was another landmark in what is a game-changing initiative in Indian sports.
Commenting about the development, he added, “I am delighted to see the progress Mission XI Million has made in just a few months. Acting upon the vision of our Hon’ble Prime Minister we want to develop football in the country and take it every village in the country. We reached out to our MPs in an attempt to achieve the same and hopefully by the time the FIFA U-17 World Cup happens in India, we would have reached the objective of making football the sport of choice for every child in the country”.