The soccer for the poor, initiated with an aim to bring the socio economic downtrodden into the sports fold enjoyed by the rest of the world, has taken on new dimensions as the programme progressed over the years. The enthusiasm that energised the first entrants to the slum soccer training sessions, was able to sustain itself and grow over the years a lot more due to the extensive training for the coaches. These coaches took on the mantle of shaping the unbridled enthusiasm of the poor who came in to play the game, into a cohesive working team with inherent discipline and controlled aggression on the field.
This needed a lot of learning on the part of the coaches themselves so they can impart a wider awareness in the players, not just for the game but for a new way of life too. The boys and girls and children who chose to enroll for the training were in need of getting educated on various aspects of life, like personal hygiene, tolerance in coexistence, a keen knowledge of the life threatening Aids/HIV menace which can arm them with how to avoid or combat the same, respect and equality for women in the society etc.
All this was possible with the coaches going through training sessions under other senior coaches from abroad who came over to work with them with a view to inculcating the importance of the all round development of each and every team player, under the CAC scheme.
What throws the light on the entire operation is the ability of the Indian coaches to imbibe the importance of making the game of soccer for the poor as a tool for overall betterment of the society. They have carved a niche for themselves in fashioning world class soccer teams out of a rag a tag wannabes.
The coaches who came from abroad worked with the youth leaders in Nagpur and created this unique group of men who not only coached the game but helped the players to become these complete individuals too who were ready to take on the challenges not only on the field but in their personal lives also, who developed values, respect for women, a complete awareness of health risks vis a vis, Aids/HIV.
In a way, these coaches have themselves become such exemplary citizens as they lead from the front, and the players follow them.