Kolkata: Players and coaching officials of the England National Under-17 Football Team visited Newtown School today to meet and play football with children coming from various backgrounds in Kolkata. The England players discussed both the game and their lives and backgrounds with the Kolkata children.
They gave an exhibition of their training methods and wowed their fellow kids with their soccer skills. In friendly play they also gave invaluable tips to the budding Kolkata junior players on all aspects of the game.
Many of the Kolkata children lucky to meet and play with the Young Lions came from two UK supported projects which utilised football and sports to empower young people especially those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities. Many of the children came from the Kolkata Goalz programme – a Premier Skills project which helped build positive relationships between young people in high deprivation areas and the local authorities through sport. The project was led by the British Council and the Kolkata Police with inputs from the Premier League in the UK.
Children also came from the British Council’s ‘DOSTI Sports for Peace’ Programme which used community sport and a series of social development modules to engage young people living in disadvantaged communities and deliver positive and effective changes in their behaviour and lifestyle. One of the partner institutions which delivered the DOSTI Programme in India was Durbar.
Both the girls and boys football teams from the Newtown School also met and played with the England squad.
The British Deputy High Commissioner, Mr Bruce Bucknell welcomed the England Under 17’s community outreach programme in Kolkata. ‘I am delighted that the England players have taken time to meet so many children from Kolkata. Sport brings people together and helps build communities,’ he said adding: ‘I am sure through this interaction with the England players the children here today will feel more confident about themselves and their game.’